Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Average Blues Get Road Trip off to Rough Start in Dallas

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Average Blues Get Road Trip off to Rough Start in Dallas

Article excerpt

DALLAS A number of things help explain the 4-1 loss the Blues suffered in Dallas on Sunday afternoon.

There were giveaways to contemplate, missed opportunities to lament and as always, goaltending moments to cross-examine. But perhaps the most disturbing aspect to digest from the three-goal loss was the most ordinary aspect.

That is, the 11-8-2 Blues more and more look like an ordinary team.

Too many average performances, said Blues coach Ken Hitichcock, increasingly frustrated with a team that only occasionally resembles the one that collected 109 points last season. Average performance doesnt get it done on the road.

But the road was supposed to be the safe house for the Blues. The road was where they had been more consistent, more focused, more determined. The road traveled now is the longest of the season, a trip that goes through Los Angeles, Phoenix, Anaheim and San Jose.

Dallas was supposed to be a soft opening, a place where momentum could be created and stored for tough stops ahead. The Stars had lost three of their previous four at American Airlines Center. The last time out, they took a 5-1 drubbing at the hands of Edmonton, the same Oilers the Blues ran over at Scottrade Center on Friday night.

Do the math. Dallas was supposed to be the shot in the arm, not the shot in the foot.

But when officials waved off a goal by Adam Cracknell midway through the third period, the Blues caved in on themselves. Their 2- 1 deficit quickly became a 3-1 deficit and another unsettling loss.

And frankly, when salvation hinges on justice from NHL officiating, you are staring down the throat of ordinary.

Its about timely stepping up, said David Backes, who took ownership of a turnover that led to the Stars third goal shortly after the Cracknell caper. If they give us a little push, we need the next line over the boards to be the example for us, the example of playing the way we need to play, of being right back at our game.

But when (the opposition) has pushed, weve kind of slid off. Like the start of the game. We had a great push and felt like we were in control. All of a sudden they pushed back. We get back on our heels instead of pushing back and countering.

Four minutes, 20 seconds into the rare Sunday matinee, the Blues got exactly what they needed for their five-game journey a good start. David Perron got the puck from Backes, pulled Kari Lehtonen out of his mooring and stuffed the puck in the open side.

The goal was the seventh for Perron third in two games at Dallas with Backes and Kevin Shattenkirk assisting. Before the puck was dropped again, Antoine Roussel attempted to fire up of the Stars by engaging Chris Stewart in a fight. …

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