By now you’ve either heard about or seen the defeating game the St. Louis Blues had against the Chicago Blackhawks last Wednesday. No team likes to take a beating like that, but the players and Coach Hitchcock had a few good things to say. This eye-opening loss against the reigning Stanley Cup Champs might just be the swift kick the Blues needed to keep their heads in the game.
The Blackhawks were the first team to score more than two goals against the Blues in their last eleven games. The ‘Hawks outshot the Blues 30 to 23, winning the game 4-0. Further, the Chicago champs have outshot St. Louis a total of 89-87 in their three previous match-ups.
#42 David Backes took responsibility for the loss, as a captain should, and praised Miller for his efforts.
“We let [Miller] out to dry,” he said. “We just didn’t play well in front of him. He’s been great since he’s been here. He’ll continue to be that way.”
“They’re the Stanley Cup champions for a reason,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “They know when to turn the temperature up. It’s our responsibility … no matter what happens in the regular season, everybody in the West, if you’re going to give them a go, you’re going to have to dial it up. They’re getting ready. And it’s up to us to get ready.”
Despite this defeat, the Blues continue to have cause for celebration. St. Louis eclipsed the 100-point marker with their third straight win (before the loss against Chicago) in the game against the Winnipeg Jets. This home record gives the Blues reason enough to go after the Presidents’ Trophy for the league record, as well as home ice throughout the playoffs. This is the 6th time they’ve broken 100 points in franchise history.
The Blues took the win against the Jets and the loss against the ‘Hawks without one of their leading forwards, #91 Vladimir Tarasenko. He will be out for the remainder of the regular season due to a hand injury. Tarasenko had surgery on March 19th and took to Twitter to let his fans know that it was “All done, [and] surgery went well!”
Coach Ken Hitchcock is hopeful for a swift recovery. Tarasenko is a determined player and due to the fact that it is only a hand injury, he should be able to “hit the ground running,” as coach said.
#56 Magnus Paajarvi also suffered an upper-body injury, although it was only minor. He should be in the lineup against Philly for the afternoon game on March 22nd.
The Blues take on the Philadelphia Flyers in their second of four games on the road. Miller will be back in goal with his newly designed, “CuJo” inspired mask. Hitchcock was impressed with the Blues practice on Friday and confident the team will have gained their determination to win once again.
Let’s go Blues!