Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Blues Escape from Losing Streak

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Blues Escape from Losing Streak

Article excerpt

Among the messages Blues coach Mike Yeo gives his team and there have been plenty is stop hoping to win.

"We're hoping that a puck bounces over here instead of being in the position that we're supposed to in," Yeo said Wednesday morning. "And so, again, I don't want to leave it up to chance. I don't want to leave it up to fluke. Let's go play a really good game. And let's go do all the little things you're supposed to do. Let's go do the job you're supposed to do in every situation, and then at the end of the night when you do those things, you'll get rewarded."

So while hope springs eternal, it is also, as hockey sage Emily Dickinson wrote, a thing with feathers, and the Blues wouldn't mind if they could now take flight. In the first promising sign in two weeks, the Blues snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 2-1 win Wednesday night over the Red Wings whose logo includes feathers, we'll note on goals by Scottie Upshall and Alex Pietrangelo and a brilliant night in the nets by Carter Hutton, who seems likely to get more and more looks as the season winds down. Hutton stopped 35 of 36 shots he faced, only losing his shutout when Detroit pulled its goalie and scored with 1:45 to play.

In 15 very tense minutes of the third period for the Blues, the team held on to a precarious 1-0 lead for what looked like one long penalty kill. And, as players often say, your goalie has to be your best penalty killer, and Hutton certainly was, as the Red Wings peppered the Blues' net. It wasn't until there was 5:23 to go in the third, when Jaden Schwartz won a battle for a puck behind the Detroit goal and fed an onrushing Pietrangelo, whose one-timer rocketed in, that the Blues could exhale.

Yes, the win was over Detroit, a team that sits fifth in the Atlantic Division and is effectively out of the playoff race. At this point in time, with the season turned into one long slog through the month of February, any win of any kind by any score is welcome. As Brayden Schenn said before the game when asked what the team needs: "We just need one win."

Among the responses in the dressing room after the game was that this is just one win, but it's a valuable building block for a team that has been trapped in quicksand. In the tightly packed Western Conference wild-card race, it doesn't take much to move a team from being on the outside to being on the inside.

The Blues took the lead yes, took the lead for the first time in what seemed like forever but was really 15 days. Not since late in the third period against Nashville, when they were in the process of losing a 3-0 lead that would go on to define the team's calamitous seven-game losing streak.

"Obviously it's a big difference," Yeo said. "That first goal is very important now. The big thing for us is, we've been trying to win games but we've almost been so aggressive early in games that we've been a little high-risk, a little bit loose and we put ourselves in a position where we're chasing. …

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