Sunday, October 9, 2011

Blues eager to move on after opening-night loss

Players upbeat despite 4-2 setback against
Nashville, want to build off good things of game

ST. LOUIS -- Yes, it was a season-opening loss. Yes, the sellout crowd at Scottrade Center went home disappointed. But for the Blues, it marks a new attitude.

Don't allow those losses to linger and park them in the rear view mirror. According to one player, the additions of the new players -- more importantly, veterans -- will be the real evidence of the importance of their signings. They will make a difference in parking defeats.

"Having that new leadership and the good veteran guys we brought in over the summer, that's going to be the biggest help in those situations," defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. "Guys who have been there and know what it takes to say. We have the right character in here to help us out with that."

A 4-2 loss against division rival Nashville saw a number of positives as well as negatives.
(Getty Images)
The Blues' Andy McDonald (10) skates with the puck as he is being trailed
by Nashville's Craig Smith in the season-opener Saturday night.

Among the positives, the Blues peppered Pekka Rinne with 33 shots and had a number of time in Nashville's zone with plenty of sustained pressure.

No one came to the rink with their head down," forward Chris Stewart said. "The beauty of this sport, 24 hours, back at it tomorrow at 1 o'clock. You can't really dwell on that moment. We came in, we corrected some mistakes on the video we made last night and we prepare for Calgary."

Some of the negatives included a less-than-stellar penalty killing unit, which allowed a pair of power play goals on two chances, a power play that converted 1 of 5 opportunities -- although that one was Jason Arnott's short-lived crucial goal in the third period -- and better execution in the d-zone. There's also Jaroslav Halak, who stopped only 12 of 15 shots faced and could be questioned for leaving the near post exposed despite a screen that allowed Predators defenseman Kevin Klein to score the game-winner.

"They made the most of their couple of chances and we squandered our multiple chances," center David Backes said. "That's a good thing to have all those chances. When those aren't there, then you've got something to worry about it. We're feeling OK about the way we played, we just need to get the result."

Added Shattenkirk, "As far as I'm concerned, the power play ... we need to get a little something going there. Whether it be getting a goal or not, a power play is important to keep or gain more momentum. At times, we looked a little too anxious out there. If we settle down and simplify at the start, things will start opening up for us."

However, Blues coach Davis Payne said going through some dry spells is something he wants to see how his team responds.
(Getty Images)
The Blues' Ryan Reaves (75) is set to fight Nashville's Zack Stortini in the
first period Saturday night.

"Not that I want to go through it, but I'm eager to see some of the rough waters," Payne said. "It's important for us to be very matter-of-fact that we could be better here, here, here, and we were good here, here, here. We get back at it the next day. I think that's how our group was on the ice this morning.

"We all left with a knot in our guts, but we've got to untie it and get back to work."

* NOTES -- Defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo (upper-body) was held out of practice Sunday but Payne indicated the team was hopeful he would be ready for Monday's game.

"An injury here kept him off the ice," Payne said. "Just kind of precautionary. Hoping he can be available for tomorrow, but we'll have to check in the morning."

Colaiacovo was injured late in the second period and went hard into the boards after taking a stick between the skates from Predators' Blake Geoffrion.

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