DFS Thursday: Stars and Leafs Looking For Home Cooking; Anthony Cirelli Ready to Break Through

Brad Hayward

2022-12-08

News of the morning has to start with Tage Thompson. His 5-points (4G,1A) in the first period against Columbus was crazy enough, yes?  Almost an afterthought that he added a fifth.  Thompson has Rocket-ed to third in the NHL goals race. 

My DFS+ starts with my Thursday feature, "What's Wrong With… (2022 playoff teams only)?"  and my focus this week will be the St. Louis Blues. Sure, the quick answer is Jordan Binnington and his antics now eclipsing any "Stop the puck" focus, but real answers are rarely so easy.  OK, they give up goals – but they seem to do so in rapid-fire bunches, while playing only even for the other 40+ minutes.

Data: (All stats from NHL.com.) The Blues have yielded 3 goals in one period IN ALL OF THEIR LAST EIGHT GAMES!   In the 15 combined periods, plus one overtime, when their opponent didn't score three, the Blues outscored them by only ONE (15 goals scored, 14 against).   Secondly, St. Louis' penalty kill ranks 32nd in the league – it's 64.9% – a season-long struggle.   Binnington has absolutely played less than his best, 3.42 GAA and 0.889 Sv%, but Thomas Greiss has been no better – 3.63 GAA. He's given up 28.9% of St. Louis' goals against, playing 27.7% of the minutes.  

Wait – don't be so hard on the Blues' defense, you say?  Offensively their leading scorer, Robert Thomas (5G, 18A) ranks 69th league-wide, and leading goal-scorer Jordan Kyrou (10G, 12A) is 53rd in that category.   With recent injuries to Pavel Buchnevich and Torey Krug, neither hopefully long-term, their top active power-play scorers are Kyrou with 4 goals, and then no one else more than one. One.