Arch Awards: What was the Best Team in St. Louis During 2015?

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2014-15 St. Louis Blues

Like the 2015 Cardinals, the 2014-15 St. Louis Blues were a dominant regular season team that simply didn’t get it done during the first round of the postseason. Thanks to breakout performances from Vladimir Tarasenko (37 goals and 37 assists in 77 games), Jaden Schwartz (28 goals and 35 assists in 75 games), and Kevin Shattenkirk (8 goals and 32 assists in 49 games prior to suffering an injury in early February), the Blues were able to form an elite offensive attack that was extremely fun to watch on a nightly basis. The scoring was unbelievably electric at times, and we saw hat tricks from Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz (both of whom had two for the season), Jori Lehtera, T.J. Oshie, and David Backes through the course of the season.

The goaltending did get shaky at times, but at other times it was dominant. Brian Elliott was great before going down with an injury in late November, and then once again for a stretch in January and February. Rookie Jake Allen was spectacular in November, and after a short period of struggle in December, he rebounded later in the season and wrestled the starting job away from Elliott in April. Even legendary netminder Martin Brodeur, a career New Jersey Devil up until December of 2014, got in on the act while Elliott was injured and shut out the Colorado Avalanche in a late December game that will go down as one of the most inspirational efforts in Blues history.

The Blues were consistently successful enough to tie for the Western Conference lead in points (109) and finish in first place in the highly-competitive Central Division with a 51-24-7 record. Unfortunately, n a turn of events that was all too familiar for the Blues’ long-tortured fanbase, the team played some terrible games in their first-round postseason series against the Minnesota Wild and just couldn’t create consistent offense, losing the series to the Wild in six games. That soured many Blues fans to the point where they wanted head coach Ken Hitchcock fired and the team’s core aggressively remodeled (which was left undone, with the exception of the offseason trade of Oshie to the Washington Capitals). Now that tensions have cooled, it’s fair to appreciate the Blues’ impressive regular season success in 2014-15, despite yet another failure to make things happen in the postseason.

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