Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Trip to `Big D' Provides Blues with a Big `W'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Trip to `Big D' Provides Blues with a Big `W'

Article excerpt

The manic-depressive Blues overcame the depressive half of their personality and let the manic rise to the forefront Saturday.

Coming off an 0-3-1 winless streak at home, they put together an impressive 6-3 victory over the Dallas Stars at Reunion Arena.

Which leads to this question: Why can't the Blues play this way at Kiel Center?

"That's the million-dollar question," said Blues star Brett Hull, who scored what proved to be the game-winner 3 minutes 37 seconds into the second period.

"That was a real hard-working game," Blues coach Mike Keenan said. "If we could get that kind of effort at home, then we'd have a marked improvement in our standing."

The victory left the Blues one-game short of the .500 mark, with a record of 22-23-9 for 53 points, good for a tie for fifth (with Vancouver) in the Western Conference.

The Blues are a .500 team away from the not-so-friendly confines of Kiel Center - 11-11-4. They're sub-.500 at home - 11-12-5.

Geoff Courtnall and rookie Christer Olsson scored two goals apiece for the Blues, with Olsson scoring the first two of his career. Hull and defenseman Chris Pronger scored one apiece, with Pronger netting his first since Dec. 28 against Dallas.

Benoit Hogue, Mike Modano and Joe Nieuwendyk scored for the Stars, whose struggles at home make the Blues pale by comparison.

The Stars haven't won at home since Jan. 5, when they beat Winnipeg 5-4. They are winless in nine home games - 0-6-3 - and are 9-14-7 at home. Overall, Dallas is 15-28-11 for 41 points, tied with Anaheim for 11th in the Western Conference.

"When teams are on the road, they raise their level of intensity," Dallas coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Teams at home expect to win and don't expect to push."

And the Blues?

"We play tight at home and try to do too much," Courtnall said. "We work too hard in the wrong way. On the road, we relax, and make the simple plays."

Courtnall played on a prominent split-personality team in Vancouver - the 1994 Stanley Cup finalists.

"This is exactly the same way we played in Vancouver the year we went to the Stanley Cup," Courtnall said. "We were awful at home, winning the odd game here and there, but we were excellent on the road. …

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