The St. Louis Blues have not been able to win back-to-back games in over a month.
They failed again last night, losing 4-2 at home to Carolina. Three days prior, they’d beaten Chicago in the Winter Classic.
“I thought that was our worst game of the year,” goalie Jake Allen said last night, per the Post-Dispatch. “We need to look ourselves in the mirror after that game. Unfocused, (didn’t execute), just didn’t play our game at all. … I thought we had a lot more to give coming off the Chicago game, from all of us. I think we all need to get back real soon. We’ve got a huge divisional game coming this weekend.”
The Blues (20-14-5) host Dallas Saturday, and the Stars (16-15-8) have been playing better lately, with just two regulation losses in their last nine.
St. Louis, meanwhile, has been mostly floundering. The Blues are only 7-7-2 since the beginning of December, and they are regularly finishing games with between 22 and 25 shots. Against the Hurricanes, they were outshot 29-23.
In case you’re wondering, the Blues have not been hampered by injuries. That being said, they don’t have David Backes or Troy Brouwer anymore, and those two combined for 39 goals last season. David Perron (10 goals) has helped fill some of the offensive void, but it’s still been a struggle to score at times.
And scoring goals isn’t even their biggest issue.
In goals against, the Blues have fallen from fourth last season (2.40) to 24th (2.92). Jake Allen’s .904 save percentage is one of the lowest among NHL starters, and Carter Hutton (.890) hasn’t been any better in the backup role.
Not to pin it all on the goalies.
“This is attitude consistency,” head coach Ken Hitchcock said. “You can’t play the game when you’re losing as many races to pucks and battles — that’s the game.”
The Blues still have a four-point playoff cushion, but with Nashville, Winnipeg and Dallas not far behind, finishing top three in the Central is no guarantee.