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Blues notebook: Binnington has been dominating otherwise high-voltage Lightning

Blues notebook: Binnington has been dominating otherwise high-voltage Lightning

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Tampa Bay's Pat Maroon (second from left) is unable to score against Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington in the first period of a game on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

DALLAS By now, Jordan Binnington might be getting in the heads of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Since the start of the 2018-19 season, the Lightning are the NHL’s winningest team with a 74-24-6 record. That’s good for 154 points. They also are the NHL’s highest-scoring team over that stretch, averaging 3.86 goals per game.

But against Binnington over this season and last, the Lightning are 0-4. He has a 1.72 goals-against average in those games, stopping 120 of 127 shots. His save percentage is .945.

“Binny’s a hell of a goalie,” Blues forward Troy Brouwer said. “He’s given us opportunities to win every night pretty much that he’s in the net. We’re gonna rely on him going forward here. Some guys just have their teams that they always do well against. It might be Tampa for him.”

With so many forwards down because of injury, the Blues might very well have to rely more on Binnington, fellow goaltender Jake Allen and their defense as a whole.

Binnington set the tone early in Wednesday 4-3 victory over the Lightning. Just 1½ minutes into the game, Tampa’s Ondrej Palat had a clear shot from relatively close range with a decent amount of open net staring at him on the near side.

It looked like a goal when Palat released his shot. But Binnington calmly reached up and snared the puck with his glove, letting the Lightning know he would be very stubborn on this night. He also stopped a couple prime chances by former Blue Pat Maroon among his 32 saves.

“We’ve seen him do it plenty of times now,” teammate Zach Sanford said. “I don’t want to say it’s expected, but it kind of is. He’s a great goaltender, competitor. He always shows up in those moments and especially when we need him most, and there he was again (Wednesday).”

Poganski called upAustin Poganski became the latest call-up from San Antonio when the Blues promoted him Thursday in the wake of Oskar Sundqvist’s injury. The 23-year-old forward from St. Cloud, Minn., was a fourth round draft choice, No. 110 overall, by the Blues in 2014.

After four seasons of college hockey at North Dakota, Poganski was in his second full season with the Rampage before his promotion. He has two goals and 11 assists in 21 games for San Antonio this season.

He plays the energized, tight-checking style of hockey that Blues coach Craig Berube likes. Berube took a long look at him during camp, playing him in six of the Blues’ seven exhibition games.

“The people down in San Antonio and the organization thought he had a tremendous year last year, got better and better as the year went along,” Berube said during camp. “And that’s normal a lot of times for college players or junior players. They go in the American Hockey League, it’s a tough league. It’s not an easy league at all, so it takes time.

“But he’s really found a way. He’s a worker. He works hard and he’s on top of the puck all the time.”

Thanksgiving on iceWhen the Blues play a road game then travel that night to their next destination, they frequently take the next day off. But that wasn’t the case Thursday in Dallas. The team had a full-roster skate early in the afternoon at American Airlines Center, home of Friday’s opponent — the Dallas Stars.

“Well, it’s either we skate a little bit today or we go on the ice (Friday),” Berube said after Thursday’s practice. “I just felt we go on the ice today, it was a quick skate, and then (Friday) guys can stay off and do what they have to do for the game.”

Blue notesDefenseman Carl Gunnarsson, who was ill, did not take part in Thursday’s practice. After the workout, several Blues attended the Dallas Cowboys-Buffalo Bills NFL game at AT&T Stadium.

• Jay Bouwmeester played a season high 26:01 against the Lightning. Alex Pietrangelo is the only other Blue to reach 26 minutes of ice time in a game this season. He’s done it five times.

• Ivan Barbashev’s three assists against Tampa Bay were a career high.


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