NBCSN’s coverage of the 2017-18 NHL season continues with Wednesday Night Rivalry as the St. Louis Blues play host to the Detroit Red Wings at 8 p.m. ET. To watch the game online, click here’
Given Tuesday’s 8-3 shellacking at the hands of the Minnesota Wild, it’s probably safe to assume St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong saw the writing on the wall.
While his former center Paul Stastny was debuting for the Winnipeg Jets, scoring a goal and adding an assist, Armstrong’s Blues were getting decimated for the third consecutive game. The Blues got shutout twice on the weekend, two 4-0 losses to the Jets and the Nashville Predators. Then Tuesday happened. And tonight, they’ll have to figure out a way to bounce back in the second half of a back-to-back against a Red Wings team that’s picked up a little bit of steam lately.
“You know what? It’s a matter of pride as far as I’m concerned,” Yeo told the St. Louis Dispatch, calling out a number of his players after the game. “You give up eight goals, c’mon. We’ve given up 16 in the last three games. We’ve always been one of the top defensive teams. The turnovers that we have and the lack of respect that we have for our goaltenders and for the game of hockey — that’s ridiculous.”
A loss to Detroit on Wednesday could turn the slump into a full-blown implosion. The Blues head off on a four-game road swing that will take them to Dallas, San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim following their game with Detroit.
The Blues are still just two points out of a playoff spot, despite trading one of their top centers and plummeting over the past week. But that ship needs to be turned around now if they have any hope.
The Red Wings’ hopes of making the playoffs sit comfortably between impossible and not going to happen. They’re seven points adrift of the Columbus Blue Jackets, who’ve found their winning ways once again and bolstered their lineup at the trade deadline. Detroit, meanwhile, traded away one of their best players in Tomas Tatar and goaltender Petr Mrazek.
“That’s a message to everyone,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall told the Detroit Free Press. “Had we played up to our potential, (Tatar would) still be here and we’d in a completely different (mode). We’d be buyers instead.”
But the Red Wings have strung together back-to-back wins and should be heading into St. Louis licking their collective chops given recent results in the Midwest. It may be their last good chance to get a win given an upcoming schedule that includes Winnipeg, Minnesota, Boston, Vegas and Columbus, just to name a few.
“We’ve just got to keep plugging away here,” Kronwall said. “We’ve been playing some decent hockey but it’s about winning. We’ve been on and off. We can’t be on and off. We’ve got to be on every game.”
Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck