NHL pluses and minuses: St. Louis Blues match their best start

Times columnist Helene Elliott rates the pluses and minuses in the NHL from the previous week:


At 11-2-2, the St. Louis Blues have matched their best start in franchise history. They last earned 11 wins in their first 15 games in the 2003-04 season. They blanked Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby on Saturday in a 2-1 victory over the Penguins, leaving Crosby without a goal against the Blues in seven career games.

The Boston Bruins honored goaltender Tim Thomas with a tribute video Thursday when Thomas returned with the Florida Panthers, his new team. Thomas, the playoff most valuable player during the Bruins' 2011 Stanley Cup run, was injured but acknowledged fans' cheers from his perch in the press box.

Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen had 30 minutes' notice he'd have to start against Vancouver on Sunday, but the Danish rookie made 35 saves in a 3-1 victory. He has saved 92 of 96 shots over his last three games and overall is 6-0-0 with a 1.41 goals-against average and .952 save percentage.


The San Jose Sharks have struggled after a strong start and Coach Todd McLellan had stern words after a loss to Vancouver on Thursday. "We were clearly outworked. When you're in the real world you work for eight hours, and when you're in the hockey world you work for 60 minutes. We didn't even come close to that," he told reporters. Their effort was better Sunday at Winnipeg, but their defense wasn't: their slump grew to 0-1-4 after a 5-4 shootout loss.

The New York Islanders were 0-4 on their trip to Washington, Carolina, Columbus and Montreal. Maybe worse, they lost recently acquired left wing Tomas Vanek to an upper-body injury in the third game. He didn't play Sunday at Montreal and was scheduled to be evaluated in New York.

Buffalo Sabres Coach Ron Rolston has made some questionable decisions. He's reluctant to play his youngest and perhaps most talented players and Friday he benched his top line — including new acquisition Matt Moulson — early in the second period of a 6-2 loss at Anaheim. That dropped the Sabres to 3-15-1. "It was a disaster to be a part of," said goalie Ryan Miller.


Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Ducks beat Canucks, 3-1, without Ryan Getzlaf, Jonas Hiller
    Ducks beat Canucks, 3-1, without Ryan Getzlaf, Jonas Hiller

    Leading scorer Getzlaf sits out with an upper-body injury, and starting goalie Hiller has flu symptoms. Rookie Frederik Andersen makes 35 saves to extend Anaheim's winning streak to five games.

  • Injury woes might be mounting for Kings
    Injury woes might be mounting for Kings

    The Kings got mixed news on the injury front Sunday, with Jarret Stoll returning to practice for the first time in more than a week while Kyle Clifford was forced to sit out after sustaining a blow to the head in Saturday's 5-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks.

  • 1 killed, 2 wounded in South Side shootings
    1 killed, 2 wounded in South Side shootings

    One man was killed, and two others were wounded in shootings Tuesday afternoon and evening in the city's Park Manor, Bronzeville and Morgan Park neighborhoods.

  • City lists 'problem landlords' on website
    City lists 'problem landlords' on website

    Chicago's Building Department published its first "problem landlords" list on its website Monday night in an attempt to crack down and publicly shame apartment building owners into providing tenants with basic services such as heat, hot water and working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

  • Chicago brothers who infiltrated cartel given 14 years in prison
    Chicago brothers who infiltrated cartel given 14 years in prison

    After more than six years in protective custody, the twin brothers from Chicago's West Side didn't look the part of hard-core drug traffickers when they walked into a public courtroom Tuesday for the first time since flipping on the notoriously violent Sinaloa cartel.

  • Emanuel, mayoral challengers face off for first time
    Emanuel, mayoral challengers face off for first time

    The first face-to-face meeting of the Chicago mayor’s race featured Rahm Emanuel offering a measured defense of his first term against a barrage of attacks from challengers who assailed his record on neighborhood development and crime and even his temperament.