Blues end skid at seven by beating Red Wings

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Even in closing a back-to-back set, the St. Louis Blues had to have this one. And they did.

It wasn’t exactly easy, mind you, as the Blues and Detroit Red Wings engaged in what was often a grinding affair on Wednesday. The Red Wings pushed early to try to rally from down two goals, but Carter Hutton and the Blues ended a deeply disturbing seven-game losing streak by winning 2-1.

This pretty play between Jaden Schwartz and Alex Pietrangelo ended up being the game-winner:

Phew.

It had to have been a confidence-booster for Hutton, who’s been strong for much of this season (some might argue good enough to steal more starts from Jake Allen), yet experienced a humbling relief appearance as Minnesota shredded St. Louis 8-3 last night.

That performance wrapped up a rough stretch of play for the Blues, with frustrations boiling over after Paul Stastny was sold to the Jets.

This win stands as crucial for what had been a sliding St. Louis group. Even with this win, the Blues are outside of the West playoff picture, and could slip a bit more if Calgary beats Colorado tonight. Still, they remain within a stride of Anaheim and other bubble teams, which has to be a relief considering a seven-game skid that resulted in a measly single standings point before this win.

The Red Wings can take heart in a solid effort, although this loss makes an unlikely playoff run that much less realistic. Considering the Tomas Tatar trade and other moves, management likely realized that, but Wednesday is a firm reminder that Detroit is likely stuck in the role of “spoiler” for the rest of 2017-8.

Such an effort wasn’t that short of the mark here, but the Blues got it done, giving them a chance to put these trying times behind them.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.