Sunday, November 20, 2016

Finding consistency on road next challenge for Blues

St. Louis 2-5-1 away from Scottrade Center, need to 
build off 3-0-0 week on home ice with two tough tests

ST. LOUIS -- Now if only they can take this on the road, the Blues will be fine.

At home, things are good. The Blues are coming off a three-game sweep this past week on home ice, improving to 8-1-2 at Scottrade Center, which is good. But the 2-5-1 record on the road is something less than desired.

The Blues had one of the best road records in the NHL last season at 25-11-5 compared to 24-13-4 on home ice, which is not great but not all too bad either.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo congratulates teammate Jake Allen after
a third straight win on home ice last week. 

In the past, the Blues (10-6-3) have tried to get too fancy, too cute on home ice, this the reason they lost so many points last season and on the road, they played a simple game and were able to manufacture points simply by playing a risk-free game.

"I think we've got to prove ourselves. I think we've got to play," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "I think we've got to do a lot of things a lot better. We won road games at the start of the year on last year's energy. We've got to go create our own new energy. We've got to play better than we've played. We have to manage every part of our game better, our discipline, our puck play, our puck management. We've got to trust our work and not try and hit home runs like we've been doing on the road. 

"We've had some great efforts, but then we've imploded. We've imploded by trying to do too much at the wrong time and giving up odd-man rushes. If we can eliminate that, trust our work and keep our structure the way it is right now, we'll be in good shape. We've got two great tests, two top-notch teams going. By the time we come back for Thanksgiving, we'll get a real good read on how competitive we are because we're going to have to be on top of our game to collect points. We're in that window right now where that's our 20th game. If you want to be a playoff team and you want to be a 100-point team, you've got to get 25 points every 20 games and that's a chance for us to get our 25th point hopefully. We get a chance, we've got to go."

The Blues are at 23 points in 19 games, which puts them on track to get to 100 if they can get a win in one of the next two, Tuesday Boston where old friend David Backes awaits, or Wednesday against the T.J. Oshie-less Washington Capitals will await before Thanksgiving.

"Hopefully this time, we're going to be a little bit of a different team on the road than we have been up to this point," said center Kyle Brodziak, who has two goals the past three games after going goalless in 15. "I think we've just got to play the same way, go in with the mindset that we're not giving up anything, we're going to be patient with our game and not try to create or manufacture anything that's not there. We've got to respect the fact that it's going to be a hard game and have trust that towards the end of the game, we're going to be able to take over."

When the Blues had an eight-spot dropped on them at Columbus on Nov. 12 in an 8-4 loss, the challenge would be how the Blues would respond.

They outscored Buffalo, San Jose and Nashville by a combined 10-4.

"That's the beauty of sports," said forward David Perron, who has a two goals and four assists during a four-game point streak. "Fans are kind of riding the roller coaster. We're trying to watch them sometimes. Not make fun of it obviously because we want to win every game, but we're obviously trying to stay off the roller coaster and just keep our focus on the next game.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Blues right wing David Perron (right) celebrates with teammate Paul 
Stastny after scoring Saturday in a 3-1 win against Nashville.

"I like the feeling right now in this room. Two minutes after the win, it was already like we were ready to go for next time. That's the feeling that it needs to be."

"We feel good," left wing Scottie Upshall said. "We're back to winning. You forget about last week. It's been good. Let's continue this on the road.

"It was a tough week (but) we've got two big games against some tough teams. The East is an area we haven't seen much, so we've got to get out there and play hard and continue to do these little things well."

No comments:

Post a Comment