Binnington Standing Tall in Blues' Net When It Matters Most
By Patrick Hoffman
From October through some of January, the St. Louis Blues were the worst team in the National Hockey League.
Their defense was awful, their offense was inconsistent, and their goaltending was terrible. At the time, it looked like the Blues would miss the playoffs for the second straight season.
Fast forward to today (May 8) and things have certainly changed in a big way. The Blues have made it to the Western Conference Finals after defeating the Dallas Stars by a score of 2-1 in double overtime in Game 7 on Tuesday night, May 7.
While the team is certainly getting timely goal scoring and playing much better defensively, the main reason why the Blues are where they are now is because of the play of their 25-year-old rookie netminder Jordan Binnington. Without Binnington, there is no way this team would be in the postseason.
During the most pressure-filled point of the season, Binnington has played like a veteran. As of this writing, Binnington is 8-5 with a 2.39 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage. That's quite impressive for a guy that was not even on the roster to start the season.
Time and time again in these playoffs, Binnington has been the team's rock. He keeps calm and composed, makes the big save when his team needs him to, and is someone who just goes out and wins hockey games.
A good example of his steadiness was in his club's Game 7 victory over the Dallas Stars. While the Blues were pepering Stars' goaltender Ben Bishop with shots throughout the game, Binnington was not busy at all and that usually makes it tough for a goaltender to feel engaged in the game.
That was not the case for Binnington. He finished the game with 29 saves on 30 shots, did a great job of handling the puck whenever the Stars dumped the puck into his team's zone, and when the game was on the line, Binnington was there to make the big save.
The truth of the matter is that he has done this all season long for the Blues. In fact, he is a Calder Trophy finalist as the league's rookie of the year.
In the regular season, Binnington went 24-5-1 with a 1.89 goals-against average, a .927 save percentage, and five shutouts. While that is somewhat of a small sample, those stats are quite impressive.
With eight wins standing between the Blues and their first Stanley Cup in franchise history, they are lucky to have a guy like Binnington between the pipes.
Patrick covers the NHL for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave.
He has previously covered the league for WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.