Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Blues Aim for Home Stretch; Blues 4, Flames 1

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Blues Aim for Home Stretch; Blues 4, Flames 1

Article excerpt

The Blues may not bump the fourth line of Ryan Reaves, Chris Porter and Adam Cracknell to first-line status, but it's being evaluated after Thursday night.

After Ryan Reaves scored two goals and the line contributed five points in a 4-1 win over Calgary, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said: "If that line continues to play at that pace, I don't think you're going to be using it as a fourth line. They're going to be using up quite a bit of ice time if they play at this level."

What did get a bump Thursday was the Blues' position in the Western Conference. The victory moved them to No. 4 in the standings and gives them a chance to clinch home-ice advantage in Round 1 with a win over Chicago on Saturday.

The Blues, who won their fifth consecutive game at Scottrade Center Thursday, will host the Blackhawks at 7 p.m.

"It's huge," Cracknell said. "The way we play at home, and have been playing at home, to start off in front of our fans you're comfortable, you don't have to go anywhere, we could stay in the routine."

There's been nothing routine about the last 24 hours.

The Blues had an outside shot at home-ice advantage, but with regulation losses by LA and San Jose Wednesday night, the team arrived for Thursday morning's practice in control of its own destiny.

The Blues came into the night with 56 points, trailing No. 4 LA and No. 5 San Jose (57 apiece). They knew the Kings and Sharks play each other in their season finale, and they knew that winning out could keep the plane engines silent for a few extra days.

Perhaps that had the players thinking too much in the first period when they registered five shots on goal and four turnovers. Hitchcock implored them not to be overly tentative, but they were fortunate to remain scoreless against the 12th-place Flames.

"They're kind of fighting for next year and we're fighting for home-ice advantage right now," Reaves said. …

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