It seems the All-Star break couldn’t get here quick enough for the St. Louis Blues.
But there will be plenty for players and coaches of that team to reflect upon in the next few days. To take from the myriad of hockey cliches: There will be soul-searching and looking in the mirror to be done during this time off, because the Blues have been struggling for quite some time now.
The Blues lost 5-1 to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.
That is a disastrous way to enter the break. Two days removed from a shutout against the high-scoring Penguins, Carter Hutton was pulled in the third period after allowing five goals on 30 shots versus the Wild. Jake Allen entered in the game in relief.
What was a close game for a time dissolved into a blowout for the Wild, which scored four unanswered goals and maintained its lead atop the Central Division.
The Blues’ goaltending troubles continue, although the overall drop-off this season goes beyond their own crease. After a decent opening period, St. Louis just couldn’t maintain that same push. It’s already difficult enough to score goals on Devan Dubnyk, but that can be an especially arduous task when he’s only tested 25 times in a game.
St. Louis entered tonight’s busy slate of games with a wild card spot, despite five losses in their last six games and being outscored 25-12 combined in those losses. But the margin for error is slim. There are six teams — St. Louis, Vancouver, Calgary, L.A., Dallas and Winnipeg — separated by just five points in that Western Conference wild card race.
The Blues now have four days off. They resume their schedule against the Winnipeg Jets next Tuesday.