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
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
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. …