It’s always amazing how many playoff races in the NHL come down to the very last gasp of the regular season. The 82-game schedule, and the league’s current point structure, allow teams to hang around and makes it difficult to find any true separation in the standings. For the St. Louis Blues, and their bizarre 2017-18 season, it realistically all comes down to a couple of huge games against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Which Blues team will show up? The dominant one that was one of the best teams in the league? The horrible one that looked like they were a random collection of spare parts? Or the third option, which is a confusing mess that’s difficult to describe?
The Blackhawks have already made it abundantly clear that their goal is to ruin the Blues’ playoff hopes. Considering the Blackhawks personally have no shot at making the playoffs, they might as well try and knock off a rival. If reading all of the Blackhawks’ comments isn’t enough to get the Blues fired up before these next couple of games, maybe they don’t deserve a playoff ticket.
While it’s fun and exciting to see the Blues still in playoff contention, it’s tough not to feel frustrated that they’re even in this position. Think back to all of the games the team squandered on their road to their current precarious position in the standings. All of the dismal performances, poor efforts and frustrating play. They should have never needed wins in their final few games if they would have shown any kind of reliability or consistency throughout the year.
But let’s put that point behind us. What’s done is done. Now it’s time to figure out once and for all what the Blues are made of in 2017-18.