St. Louis has been outscored 18-8 in past
three home losses; Hutton pulled after first period
ST. LOUIS -- The Blues should have learned their lesson when they were torched by Florida on Jan. 9 at home.
The lesson should have really been hammered home when they were embarrassed at home against Western Conefrence bottom-feeder Arizona on Jan. 20 and were bag-skated the next day.
|(St. Louis Blues photo)|
Blues center Brayden Schenn (left) tries to put a puck past Wild goalie
Devan Dubnyk during Minnesota's 6-2 win on Tuesday.
It worked for a couple games, but apparently, they didn't learn from that either.
And in a time when these games should matter more than anything in a tight and cramped Central Division, the Blues were embarrassed on home ice Tuesday, 6-2 to the Minnesota Wild, a team chasing them in the standings, at Scottrade Center.
The Blues (32-20-3) actually started well in this one, just like the game against Florida, one in which they led 2-0 before losing 7-4; they got a Jaden Schwartz goal 45 seconds into the game and led 1-0.
Good tidings, right?
Carter Hutton, who won four straight starts and allowed two goals in those games, stopping 121 shots with two shutouts and a .984 save percentage, was lit up for three goals on eight shots and pulled for the second time this season (he was pulled in the 5-2 loss to the Coyotes after allowing three goals on 12 shots) in the first period.
He had been the best goalie going in the league, but even he was less than stellar following in the line of his teammates. Jake Allen wasn't much better, allowing three goals on 12 shots in relief.
But the fact that the Blues, who outshot the Wild 37-20 (including 19-3 in the third period when the game was well out of hand), are even having to talk about lack of urgency and being disconnected in Game No. 55 can't be a good sign for a team that actually has won six of its past nine.
But losing in this fashion is highly disturbing.
"I wish I had an answer for you but I don't," Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo said. "The goalies stand on their heads for two months and then we do that to them. Just disconnected all over the ice.
"... We need to respond. We know it's not good enough. It's not good enough starting with me all the way down. Make sure on Thursday there's a good response. We've said that before. You've got tomorrow to look in the mirror and get better."
The Blues aren't a team that's going to blow teams out. They're not built that way. But when they lose, they lose badly. They've now been outscored 18-8 in their past three home losses, and with their 11th loss on home ice, it's unacceptable for a team that feels it's build to be among the top eight in the conference.
"Yeah, we can't ... that's disturbing, that's disappointing that we're coming out and ... the turnovers that we had in the first period, instead of making it hard on [Minnesota] and making it a really tough night, we didn't do that," Blues coach Mike Yeo said. "We made it easy and we allowed them to get going. Yeah, that's something we've got to fix obviously."
"It's all about urgency," right wing Alexander Steen said. "At this time of the year, (it's) urgency and preparation. What you're gonna see now down the stretch, this is where the games start to tighten up, and you're not gonna get anything for free. It's all about what you earn and tonight they earned more than we did."
What's even more disturbing is the Blues could have sent the Wild (29-19-5) into a bigger tailspin after Minnesota was blitzed 6-1 at Dallas on Saturday. Instead, the Wild turned the tide on the Blues.
"I said it before. We can't play like this at home," right wing Vladimir Tarasenko said. "It's on me. On us. On the leaders.
"... I feel real upset about our game tonight. I feel really upset about this loss. Not only about my game. But trust me, no(t) one of us wants to play like this. We're trying hard. I know it's not enough now. Like I said, it's on us to find out what's going on."
After Schwartz gave the Blues a 1-0 lead 45 seconds into the game, the Wild scored three goals in the first period, including two in 1:14.
Niederreiter tied it 1-1 on a shot from the slot at 2:02, Foligno made it 2-1 at 16:53, and Koivu scored on the power play at 18:07 to make it 3-1.
Jake Allen replaced Hutton to start the second period.
"I just don't think that we were good enough tonight," Yeo said. "I don't think that this loss, in any way, is just on the goalies, but again collectively, as a group, we weren't good enough."
|(St. Louis Blues photo)|
Blues left wing Scottie Upshall (9) battles for a loose puck with the Wild's
Joel Eriksson Ek (14) and goalie Devan Dubnyk.
Zucker scored on a backhand shot at 9:45 of the second period to make it 4-1, and Dumba's one-timer from the left face-off circle got between Allen's pads to make it 5-1 at 16:19.
Parise deflected in a shot on the power play to put St. Louis ahead 6-1 at 5:05 of the third period.
Jaskin made it 6-2 at 12:36, his first goal since scoring Dec. 9 at Detroit (22 games).
"Yeah, well again I don't know if it's a 6-2 game tonight," Yeo said. "So I want to be careful, I want to watch the video. But still, no question we weren't good enough to win."
"Not discouraging. I think disappointing, but we have the games we have left," Steen said. "We gotta focus on the next game, and mentally preparing for what's ahead now. Like I said, this is when things start to tighten up, and it's a lot harder. You have to earn every inch out there and when you play a team that is earning it and you're not, this is what happens.
"It falls on myself. I gotta be better here and make sure that we turn this around ASAP."