Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Notebook: Blues Look to Distance Themselves from the Pack

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Notebook: Blues Look to Distance Themselves from the Pack

Article excerpt

GLENDALE, ARIZ. - The Blues are viewing their three-game road swing, which starts Thursday against Arizona, as Separation Weekend.

"Coming into this month, we knew it was gonna be a hard month," defenseman Jay Bouwmeester said. "We've done a pretty good job so far, but I think now we're getting into the games where you're against teams that are right around you.

"They're obviously big because you can kind of separate yourselves a little bit. And they're gonna be desperate knowing everyone's kind of in that mix."

The Arizona Coyotes (25-26-5) are six points behind the Blues (28-22-5) in the Western Conference playoff race with 55 points. Saturday's opponent, the Colorado Avalanche (22-23-11), also have 55 points.

Sunday's foe, the Minnesota Wild (27-25-5), are right behind the Blues in the second wild-card spot with 59 points.

"All the teams right now, it's kinda crunch time," captain Alex Pietrangelo said. "So we're expecting playoff hockey in every game."

The NHL standings are posted in the Blues' team meeting room in St. Louis, so it's easy enough to get the lay of the land in terms of who you're chasing -- and who's chasing you.

Vince Dunn claims he hasn't looked at an out-of-town score yet this season. Even Pietrangelo says he pays attention to the standings and scores on an "on-and-off" basis.

"I just know this is a big weekend for us to kind of push ahead of the teams below us," Pietrangelo said.

PLUS-6 PETRO

As the 8-3 rout of the New Jersey Devils was unfolding Tuesday night at Enterprise Center, Pietrangelo got a sense that he and defensive partner Joel Edmundson were on the ice for a lot of Blues goals. Even so, he was surprised to look at the scoresheet after the game and see that he was plus-6 for the evening.

"Six is a lot," Pietrangelo said. "I don't know if I had a whole lot to do with all of them. I guess I'll take it. …

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