It's funny how people -- including a lot of NHL experts -- kept insisting this team was just way too slow to play in the league today. I tried to remind people that they were just playing slower than they really were. Anyway, here are a few thoughts:
1) Jordan Binnington is playing confidently in goal. He makes a great save here or there, but mostly he is just quiet in the net, making the saves he should and staying under control.
2) Given that, the team is more settled in the defensive zone. Binnington's confidence makes them more confident. They aren't chasing around as much because the goaltender isn't thrashing around as much.
3) Individual D-men are better. Jay Bouwmeester got better as his recovering from hip surgery progressed. Carl Gunnarsson played very well when he finally escaped the injured list. Robert Bortuzzo also provided a lift when he got well. Consultant Larry Robinson did some good work with Colton Parayko when he came down to the ice.
4) Craig Berube is a straightforward coach. And it took some fourth-liners (Oskar Sundvist, Ivan Barbashev) and some fill-ins from San Antonio (Nolan, MacEachern) stepping up to play a more direct game to help drive that home.
5) Vladimir Tarasenko finally regained some of his old swagger. He is scoring some goals and making some nice passes.