Blues stay hot, but lose Lehtera, Berglund vs. Preds

14 Comments

The Blues battled hard in a back-and-forth game against the Central Division-leading Nashville Predators Thursday night and in the end, St. Louis managed to come away with a 5-4 shootout victory. Improving to 8-0-1 in its last nine games, it seems the All-Star break hasn’t disrupted St. Louis’ forward momentum.

Unfortunately the Blues are facing a new challenge now. Patrik Berglund sustained an upper-body injury during the second period and the Blues then lost Jori Lehtera (upper body) in the third. The severity of their injuries wasn’t immediately clear, but Blues coach Ken Hitchcock has already ruled them out for Friday’s contest against Carolina, per the team’s Twitter feed.

Lehtera, 27, has spent much of the season playing on an effective line with Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz. That’s helped Lehtera score nine goals and 30 points in 46 contests in his first NHL season.

The 26-year-old Berglund hasn’t been as productive offensively with six goals and 16 points in 46 games, but he’s looked very good from an analytics perspective. Using Corsi, the Blues take 55.5% of all 5-on-5 shots when Berglund is on the ice and just 49.5% when he’s not, per the War on Ice.

With last night’s win, the Blues trial Nashville by just four points, but on the other hand their hold on second place in the Central Division is far from secure. Chicago is only two points behind St. Louis and Winnipeg is four points shy.