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Blues 'still not satisfied' despite 11-game winning streak

Have eyes on first place in Central Division after turnaround

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- The St. Louis Blues have their sights set on more than simply earning a wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.

They have their eyes on first place in the Central Division, an almost unimaginable thought after they were last in the NHL on Jan. 3. They've used an 11-game winning streak and a 17-4-1 run since then to move into third in the division, seven points behind the division-leading Winnipeg Jets, entering their game against the fourth-place Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on Thursday (8:30 p.m. ET; FS-SW, FS-MW, NHL.TV).

"We're still not satisfied," center Ryan O'Reilly said. "We want to keep this thing going as long as we can. We are taking it one game at a time. We want to keep climbing, and that's the objective. We can't be satisfied. We've come a long way, but there's still work to be done."

Video: Blues look to take longest win streak of the season

This upward trend has come in a variety of ways, including the resurgence of forward Vladimir Tarasenko, who's scored 15 of his 26 goals since Jan. 5 and had an NHL career high 12-game point streak end in a 3-2 overtime win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday. The line of Tarasenko, O'Reilly and Brayden Schenn has combined for 45 points (17 goals, 28 assists) in the 11 games they've played together.

Instead of possibly being a seller, St. Louis is in position to be a buyer ahead of the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline on Monday at 3 p.m. ET. But the Blues may not want to tinker with what is working.

"I'll be honest with you, I don't even know when the trade deadline is," defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. "I don't think many guys in this room do. We're just going about our business here playing the way we need to play. That stuff's out of our hands. We've just got to keep going and playing."

Rookie goalie Jordan Binnington is a big reason why the Blues have not trailed in a game since the third period on Feb. 5 at the Florida Panthers, a stretch of 493:42. He's 13-1-1 with a 1.61 goals-against average, .937 save percentage and four shutouts in 17 games since his recall from San Antonio of the American Hockey League on Dec. 10.

"That goalie there is playing unbelievable," Maple Leafs forward Mitchell Marner said. "You saw how many chances he saved [Tuesday] that were pretty Grade A. He's playing unbelievable for them."

That mentality is reflective of what the Blues have been saying every day.

"I just think we're playing for each other," center Tyler Bozak said. "We're a really tight group. Everyone gets along really well. Obviously at the start of the year, we had a lot of new faces in here and it takes time to get that camaraderie and that chemistry between the group. We're starting to feel that now and gaining that confidence. Everyone's playing hard for each other."

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