The St. Louis Blues are heading to the Western Conference Final. They can thank a double-overtime goal by Pat Maroon for that. The play of Robert Thomas has also gotten the Blues where they are in the postseason.
They aren’t the only ones performing when the Blues need it most, yet they have been two of the biggest players. Especially in the series against the Dallas Stars.
Pat Maroon, Robert Thomas Performing Well
Simply glancing at the numbers won’t tell the full story. Doing that, you’ll see just four points for Maroon and five for Thomas. Pointless in the last three games, Maroon scored the biggest goal in the series for the Blues. And it wasn’t the first time he came up large in the series either.
With 1:38 to go in Game 3 of the series, Maroon beat Ben Bishop over the shoulder to give the Blues the victory. It put the Blues up 2-1 in the series at the time and was their fourth win in a row on the road.
— NHL (@NHL) April 30, 2019
Maroon came to St. Louis on a one year contract worth $1.75M. It was rumored that he had offers that would pay him at least $2M but turned them down. Instead, Maroon came to St. Louis because he wanted to play in front of his hometown crowd. And he did not disappoint them.
While four points in 13 playoff games doesn’t seem like a big contribution, it was more than that for Maroon. Of all the lines in the playoffs, the one featuring Maroon, Tyler Bozak and Thomas was the only one that wasn’t altered during the second round series.
You won’t see his line scoring as often as others, but it’s the heavy style of play that Maroon brings that has made his line successful. Watching them in the offensive zone, you see a constant cycle of the puck and physical play that can tire out an opponent. The line has been able to combine for 14 points in the playoffs and they came up big when the team needed them most.
Robert Thomas Impressive In Playoffs
Ask almost anyone and they will tell you that Robert Thomas has been the Blues best player in their second-round series. Thomas has 13 career postseason games to his name, all from this year. And the play he has shown has put him in some pretty good company when it comes to teenagers in the NHL.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) May 8, 2019
Thomas is also the youngest Blues player to ever record a point in the seventh game of a series. Current teammate Robby Fabbri was the last to do it back in 2016. Thomas is the second youngest Blues player to record multiple points in a playoff game. Carolina Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour did it four times with the Blues in 1990.
Looking deeper into what Thomas has meant to this team, he has been one of the best when it has come to goals scored while on the ice. His GF% sits at 71.43%. That puts him fourth on the team in the playoffs. That has him ahead of top players such as Ryan O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko. Thomas’ Rel GF% sits third on the team at 23.04%.
Going further, Thomas’ expected goal percentage is fourth on the team at 52.76%. So his expected goals for sits at 6.6% while his expected goals against is 5.91%.
Surprisingly, both Thomas and O’Reilly have similar numbers when looking at CF.QoT, the Corsi quality of teammates. Thomas sits at 51.49% while O’Reilly was at 51.56%. Unsurprisingly, there’s a difference between the quality of competition each face. O’Reilly is typically seeing the opponents best, who sit at around 48.9 CF%. Thomas is second from the bottom, with his opponents typically around a 48.08%.
So one can say that Thomas should have a better chance of performing based on who he is typically matched up against. Thomas’ success, though, saw him with more and more ice time as the final game went on. He was even seen out on the ice with more than just his regular linemates. It was his play with Pat Maroon, though, that mattered most.
Maroon and Thomas Come Up Large In Game Seven
With goals hard to come by in the seventh game, Maroon and Thomas combined for three points. It took over 85 minutes to decide a winner. Maroon skated 20:55, his highest of the playoffs while Thomas played 22:52, the highest in his career.
It was Robert Thomas that took the original shot that hit the post and then Bishop. Then Pat Maroon who swatted home the puck as it lay by the goal line. Those two, along with Bozak winning the faceoff, took the Blues to the Western Conference Final.
“That’s a faceoff play we run all the time and Bozie’s a veteran player that wins faceoffs, a lot of faceoffs at key times,” Maroon said after the victory. “He won that, Thomas came around, made a great move around Klingberg, hit the post, off the back of Bishop and I just found the rebound. It’s a greasy goal that I kind of score.”
It was the 54th shot of the game for the Blues. Their first goal came on their sixth shot of the game in the first period. That was Vince Dunn, with none other then Maroon in front of the net. In fact, there was a bit of controversy at the time of the goal, asking whether Maroon had tipped the shot or not. Thomas would grab the secondary assist on the goal.
Robert Thomas had just one point after the first round. There was a six-game pointless drought. Pat Maroon had two points, also followed by a six-game drought. However, that can all be forgotten after Tuesday night’s victory.
It’ll be a brief rest coming up for the Blues. And thanks to Maroon and Thomas, it is very brief before the Blues take on either the San Jose Sharks or the Colorado Avalanche. The Western Conference Final is expected to start on Friday or Saturday, depending who wins tonight’s Game 7 between the Avalanche and Sharks.
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