Following up on our last article "Shake up in St.Louis", the Blues were playing great defense but struggling to score goals. Boy how things have changed. At the time the Blues #1 center was Mark Scheifele who with 14 points in 11 games was generally performing well but not finding the back of the net. A paltry 2 goals in his first 11 games. The blues #2 center at the time was ice cold having scored only 2 goals and 5 points through the first 11 games.
GM Thompson's answer to the lack of production? A couple small changes to try and maximize team scoring. In an effort to get Couturier going, he was moved up to the first line with star wingers, Gabriel Landeskog and and Mikael Granlund. Schiefele the teams leading point getter was demoted to the 2nd line. Some lesser men may have sulked, complained, or even demanded a trade. What did Schiefele do? He didn't sulk, he didn't demand a trade he didn't complain. He just continued to score. How did Couturier handle the promotion? Like one might expect of someone playing with 2 players like Landeskog and Granlund. He snapped out of his funk. Have a look at the breakdown of both players before and after the line changes.
First 11 games: 11 2 12 14 1.27 ppg
Last 7 games: 7 4 7 11 1.57 ppg
First 11 games: 11 2 3 5 .45 ppg
Last 7 games: 7 6 7 13 1.85 ppg
Before the changes, the Blues 2 highest rated goal scorers accounted for only 4 goals through the first 11 games. One of the main reasons cited by GM Thompson for the Blues early season struggles. After swapping the 2 centers, they have combined for 10 goals in the last 7 games. A significant improvement to say the least.
In fact since the change, team scoring as a whole is up. The Blues were scoring at a paltry rate of 2.75 goals per game in October and an astounding 4.5 goals per game so far in November. The Blues goal scoring hasn't come at the price of team defense either. They currently sit 1st in shots against, 1st in Goals against and 1st in penalty killing. Not to shabby. They are arguably the hotest team in the league right now. The result has been a 6 and 1 run and a spot near the top of the Central division. Not to bad. A small change but a big result.
Lets hope the 2nd half of November continues as the first. Go Blues Go.