Author: Mike Halford

St Louis Blues v Arizona Coyotes

Blues need more — much more — from Backes, Stastny and Oshie


Vladimir Tarasenko, Kevin Shattenkirk, Alex Steen, Patrik Berglund, Jaden Schwartz and Jori Lehtera.

What do those six have in common?

Well, aside from all playing for St. Louis, they’re also the only six Blues to have scored a point in the opening playoff round against Minnesota.

The list of those with zeros in the points column is much, much longer.

And that list is topped by three of the team’s highest-paid and most influential forwards — captain David Backes, alternate captain T.J. Oshie and Paul Stastny, the $7-million dollar man. That trio has combined for no goals, no assists and a collective minus-2 rating thus far; Backes and Stastny have put just eight total shots on goal and nobody seems to be driving play or dictating tempo like they were during the regular season.

“We don’t draw a single penalty tonight for good reason,” Backes told the Post-Dispatch after falling behind 2-1 in the series on Monday night. “We’re not on our toes, we’re not carrying the play in their zone and making them take penalties.”

St. Louis, who boasted the league’s fourth-best power play during the regular season, has had the man advantage just five times in three games and, as Backes mentioned, not once in Game 3. It’s definitely playing a role in the lack of production — 10 of Backes’ 26 goals this year came on the PP, as did 15 of Stastny’s 46 points.

But there’s more to it than the power play.

The Blues look stifled on Monday night, unable to generate much of anything in the way of offense. They put just 17 shots on Devan Dubnyk — eight through the first two periods — and lost whatever momentum they might’ve gained after a big win (and Tarasenko’s hat trick) in Game 2.

“[The Wild] got to show their skill, speed and ability,” Backes said. “We were playing catch-up all night.”

And now the Blues are playing catch-up in the series as well.

After Karlsson hit, Habs rule out Beaulieu for rest of Round 1

Karlsson hit

The Montreal Canadiens are rolling at the moment with a commanding 3-0 series lead against Ottawa, but announced some bad news on Tuesday, ruling out d-man Nathan Beaulieu for the rest of the opening round.

Beaulieu, 22, was hurt on this hit from Sens captain Erik Karlsson in Game 3:

Beaulieu remained in the contest but didn’t play in the third period or overtime.

The loss will sting Montreal a bit — Beaulieu played 15:34 and 12:47 in the first two games of the series — but the club is well equipped to deal with losing a defenseman. Sergei Gonchar, Greg Pateryn and Mike Weaver all sat out Game 3, and it looks as though Pateryn will draw in for tomorrow’s potential close-out contest.

Report: Davis Payne on Flyers’ coaching radar

St. Louis Blues v Los Angeles Kings

With this year’s potential free agent coaching market projected to have some big names, darkhorse candidates haven’t received much publicity — which is why a new report out of Philadelphia has piqued a bit of interest.

Per a source of, the club could consider current L.A. assistant Davis Payne to replace Craig Berube, who was dismissed last week. Payne, 44, has been with the Kings for the last three years and, prior to that, compiled a 67-55-15 record in parts of three seasons as St. Louis’ head coach.

“Payne is a guy who got hired by (Kings GM) Dean Lombardi when Hextall was there and when he was in St. Louis his teams played hard for him,” the source told NJ Advance Media. “Before that he won a championship in the East Coast League.

“That’s a name that comes to mind who Hextall could go after.”

Payne would have a unique tie to the Flyers organization, as he’s a former AHL Providence teammate of Peter Laviolette, who coached in Philly from 2009-14 and led the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Final in 2010.