Hitchcock: “They checked us hard and we coughed up the puck”

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After a crushing Game 2 loss (and particularly a stunning 4-0 first period), St. Louis Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock was quick to praise the Los Angeles Kings for their 5-2 win. The veteran bench boss wasn’t too harsh toward his young – and potentially rattled – team and was probably wise to take it easy on Brian Elliott since Jaroslav Halak isn’t walking through that door anytime soon.

Instead, Hitchcock critiqued the team’s collective efforts when discussing the game in front of Lou Korac and others.

“They checked us hard and we coughed up the puck,” Hitchcock said. “We made mistakes.”

Hitchcock also brought up the Blues’ anemic power play, if you want a more specific criticism. He has good reason to critique the man advantage, too. St. Louis went 0-for-9 in Game 2 (one shorthanded goal allowed), 0-for-12 in the series so far (three SHG allowed) and 0-for-23 in the regular season. One might have to bump that power play from a “problem” to a “crisis.”

Getting Alex Pietrangelo back might be the easiest way to make things a little better, but he’s still day-to-day according to Hitchcock.

One way or another, improving special teams and defensive coverage is the name of the game for St. Louis. If Hitchcock wants to make his Jack Adams nomination ring true, he’ll have to find a way to get through to his struggling young team immediately.

He might be justified in taking his relatively gentle approach, though.