Binnington, Blues on thin ice for Game 3 vs. Canucks

NHL

These are desperate times for the St. Louis Blues.

The Blues, winless in five games so far in Edmonton, might bench Stanley Cup-winning goaltender Jordan Binnington for Game 3 of their best-of-seven first-round Western Conference playoff series against the Vancouver Canucks.

Blues coach Craig Berube was noncommittal when asked if he would start Jake Allen in net on Sunday night.

“That’s something I’ll discuss (Saturday) with the coaching staff,” Berube said after a 4-3 overtime loss in Game 2 Friday. “That’s as far as I’m going to take that.”

The Blues entered the postseason with the best record in the conference but lost all three of their games in the round-robin — dropping to the fourth seed — and the first two games against the fifth-seeded Canucks.

Binnington has allowed nine goals on 47 shots in two games against Vancouver, including four on 25 shots in Game 2. He’s 0-4 with a 4.27 goals-against average and .862 save percentage in the playoffs.

Allen made 37 saves in a 2-1 shootout loss to Dallas in the round-robin portion of the postseason.

“I think there’s concern all around,” Berube said when asked about Binnington’s past few starts. “That’s too many goals just in general. It’s not just the goalie, it’s the whole team.”

Canucks center Bo Horvat has a league-leading six goals in the postseason. He has four goals in the first two games against St. Louis, including a power-play goal in Game 1 and a short-handed goal in Game 2 before scoring the winner Friday on a breakaway at 5:55 of overtime.

“Don’t give him breakaways,” Berube said. “… You’ve got to keep him in front of you. We can’t let him beat us one-on-one. You’ve got to defend that. That’s it. Simple.”

Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said he thought Friday’s game was the team’s best since arriving in Edmonton.

“Sometimes you’ve just got to keep playing and eventually things turn. Is it frustrating? Yeah, sure, but we don’t really care what people think outside our locker room,” Pietrangelo said. “We had a lot of noise last year, and look at what we did.

“It’s a new year, obviously. We don’t want to keep going back to last year, but the core of this group went through that together, and we know how to bounce back from these things.”

The Blues showed that late in regulation Friday, as David Perron and Jaden Schwartz combined to tip home Pietrangelo’s point shot with 6.4 seconds left to force overtime.

But that still wasn’t enough against the Canucks, who got a goal and an assist from Elias Pettersson and 34 saves by Jacob Markstrom.

“It’s definitely a good response by the guys,” said Canucks forward Tanner Pearson, who scored in the second period. “… To let the late one in, it could have taken the wind out of us, but we regrouped in the room, came out strong, and finished it off.”

The Canucks have won five straight games since losing Game 1 to the Minnesota Wild in the best-of-five qualifiers.

“Since we’re here, we want to win,” Pearson said. “It’s a lot of fun winning this time of year. The more you do it, the more you come closer to what you’ve dreamed of as a kid. We’ve been on the right side of things for a bit now, and we got to keep our heads in it and focus on getting the next one.”

–Field Level Media

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