Skip to main content
NHL Insider

Schenn's strong play driving Blues' early success

Forward acquired in June trade with Flyers tied for St. Louis scoring lead, playing well defensively

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

EDMONTON -- A fresh start has agreed with St. Louis Blues center Brayden Schenn.

Schenn, 26, was acquired by the Blues in a trade with the Philadelphia Flyers for forward Jori Lehtera, the Blues' first-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft and a conditional first-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft on June 23, and he's on pace for his best NHL season.

He had two goals and an assist in the Blues' 4-1 victory against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place on Thursday, and has 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) during a six-game point streak

Schenn is tied with linemate Jaden Schwartz for the Blues lead with 25 points (seven goals, 18 assists) in 20 games. If that pace continues, he'll pass his previous high of 59 points (26 goals, 33 assists) in 80 games for the Flyers in 2015-16.

"It's confidence," Schenn said. "Confidence from the coaching staff to put me in all situations. You've got to go out there and perform. I've been playing a little bit of [penalty kill], power play, and with good players against top lines. Me, I just try to go out there and do a job.

"We've got a great team here. Everyone plays a team game and that's why they've had success. Not only this year but for the past five or six years."

Blues coach Mike Yeo had a simple answer when asked why Schenn has clicked in St. Louis.

"Because he's a good player. That's the easiest answer," Yeo said. "He's a good player with character and he's been a nice fit with our group. He's got obviously a very important role and he does a lot of things for us."

Video: STL@EDM: Schenn scores two goals in 1:44

Schenn and linemates Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko drew a challenging assignment Thursday, regularly facing Oilers center Connor McDavid, who led the League in scoring last season. McDavid had three shots on goal and was minus-2 Thursday.

"That was a hard match all night, so I probably would have said if we'd tied the matchup we'd have been pleased with that," Yeo said. "Defensively you're going to have to do a heck of a job when you're on the ice against Connor, and I thought he did that. He was solid all night.

"What I liked is that he didn't cheat the game. He focused on the defensive part of it and he stayed strong in the way we needed to play the game and had the confidence that things would come around offensively if he did that."

The Blues' top line also was a big factor in righting things defensively. Prior to Thursday, St. Louis had allowed 12 goals in back-to-back losses to the New York Islanders and Calgary Flames.

"We wanted a bounce-back game," Schenn said. "We just stuck with our game and we knew if we did that we would come out on top. We're at our best when we forecheck and create turnovers. We were able to do that and frustrate them towards the end of the game."

That hard forecheck and the disruption it's caused, not just against the Oilers on Thursday, have been a big reason the Blues have a Western Conference-high 29 points (14-5-1).

"We try to be one of the better forechecking teams in the League," Schenn said. "That's what we pride ourselves on. We go hard. Nobody wants to play against a hard forechecking team that's going to take away time and space will be physical as well."

Video: NYI@STL: Schenn wires wrister past Greiss

Blues goalie Jake Allen, who got his 100th NHL win Thursday, said the strong first quarter of the season has been the result of a balanced, determined lineup.

"Everyone's contributing in some shape or form," he said. "Obviously [Tarasenko, Schenn and Schwartz] are scoring goals but [Chris Thorburn] and that [fourth] line, they're doing a great job. They're taking [defensive] zone face-offs for us, penalty-killing, doing everything. … They don't get offensive stats like the other guys do but they're just as much a factor on the winning side of it."

Allen said the victory against the Oilers was a good sign for what's ahead, starting with a game at the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday (10 p.m. ET; CBC, SN, FS-MW, NHL.TV), the finale of a three-game road trip.

"The last two games, that wasn't us," he said. "From myself to every single person. Pucks weren't bouncing for us because we didn't deserve it. We weren't playing hard. We were casual. [Against the Oilers], that was a perfectly executed road game, simple and it wasn't overly pretty and I thought we moved the puck quick.

"We kept on the move and kept them guessing and we hemmed them in their zone for quite a bit of time, especially against a really good team."

View More