Jessica Reis, Staff Writer
The St. Louis Blues were ranked last on the morning of Jan. 3, 2019. In one of the greatest comebacks in history, the Blues came back and ended up third in the Western Conference. Clinching their playoff spot, they stand to face the Winnipeg Jets in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. After their first game, the Blues came out on top with a 2-1 win against the Jets. Both goals came in the third period, the Blues finally found the spark within them. David Perron scored the first goal for the Blues which opened up the gates. With three minutes left in the game, Tyler Bozak scored the game-winning goal.
Three months ago the Blues were struggling to work as a team. There was a significant amount of controversy about whether they should trade Vladimir Tarasenko, the second leading goal scorer, behind Ryan O’Reilly. Tarasenko was not producing as much as he usually does. People called him lazy and voiced their opinions that he was not worth the money that we were paying him. However, Tarasenko turned it around for himself. Now he is one of the fastest players in the league and has done nothing but capitalize on all the opportunities that have come his way.
On the same line as Tarasenko is O’Reilly who is the current leading goal scorer for the St. Louis Blues. The Blues acquired O’Reilly from the Buffalo Sabres, making it arguably one of the best trades the Blues have ever made. When O’Reilly was playing for the Sabres he stated that he “lost his love for the game and got comfortable with losing.” However, after he began playing with the Blues, he said that his love for the game is back again and he could see a Stanley Cup in the franchise’s future.
When interviewed about his thoughts on going to the playoffs with the Blues, “It’s usually a disappointing time, but now it’s an exciting time” O’Reilly said. “You’re just trying to salvage a decent season personally. Now to have the meaning and this purpose, to prepare for the playoffs, going in there, trying to sort out our seed, playing meaningful hockey and getting ready for what we train for, it’s what you dream of doing, which is competing for the Stanley Cup. It’s what I’ve wanted, and unfortunately it’s taken me a long time to get back in there, but I’m excited. I’m happy with this group, and to be a part of it is special.” Furthermore, he explains the excitement of playoff hockey. “The intensity,” he said. “There’s nothing like it. There’s no better hockey to play than playoff hockey. Every little play matters, both teams are giving their best. As a player, it’s the most exciting hockey to be in. The crowds are something that are much more intense, too. The atmosphere of the buildings can be electric, which is really cool to see.” O’Reilly never got that in his three seasons in Buffalo, where the Sabres’ point totals dropped from 81 to 78 to 62.
The Blues have a high chance at going far in this year’s playoffs, even a good shot at winning. The next game will be held in Winnipeg Friday, April 12, at 8:30 p.m. If there’s one thing better than being in the playoffs, it’s being in the playoffs with a chance to go far.