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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 6:25 am 
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ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues entered the All-Star break winners of four of their last five and are 7-3-1 in their last 11.

It still isn't good enough to keep pace in the Central Division.

During that span, the Blues have lost ground to Colorado, Nashville and Winnipeg, kept pace with Dallas and gained ground on Minnesota (one point) and Chicago (three points). The Blues (30-18-3) sit third in the division with 63 points, the seventh-best record in the NHL, but are just six points away from missing out on the playoffs.

"I've played in the Central Division the majority of my career and it never ceases to amaze me," Blues goalie Carter Hutton said. "If it's not one team, it's another. It's always a battle. I think it's always been one of the better divisions in the league and it's always fun to race, that's for sure."

Winnipeg sits on top of the division with 66 points, but has played one less game than the Blues. Nashville is in second with 65 points, but has played four games less than St. Louis.

Dallas is three points behind the Blues, but has played one less game than the Blues. Colorado and Minnesota each sit six points behind St. Louis, but have played three and two fewer games, respectively.

"You can't really rely on anyone," Blues center Paul Stastny said. "When you get cold, it seems like every other team gets hot. And then vice versa. So you've got to try to minimize those losses as much as you can and find ways to get points and build something when you get something good."

The one thing that is clear is that the Blues need to keep winning and that will start when they host the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.

"It's just a matter of making sure that we're consistent right now," Blues coach Mike Yeo told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "We've been slipping a little bit here lately in the consistency department, but when we're healthy and we're engaged, we're a real tough team to play against."

St. Louis beat the Canadiens 4-3 at Montreal on Dec. 5. The Blues have won three straight against the Canadiens.

Montreal (20-23-6, 46 points) is desperate for wins too. The Canadiens are 13th in the Eastern Conference and are 10 points out of a wild card spot.

The Canadiens entered the All-Star break off a 6-5 loss to Carolina. The loss to the Hurricanes prompted coach Claude Julien to question some of his players' commitment.

"You win as a team, you lose as a team," Julien told the Montreal Gazette. "But I would expect our players to be ready to play a game and be focused. Some of them were, but a lot of them weren't. That's what we have to get better at. Pros have to be pros. We don't babysit. We prepare guys. The other part is they've got to be pros and say we've got to be ready to play here. That's what good teams do."

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:03 am 
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Carter Hutton leading the league in GAA and SV%. :letsgoblues:

Makes me wonder how long it will last. Obviously Jake is our guy long-term, that's why they awarded him the contract. But if you're Doug Armstrong, what are you thinking right now?

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:36 am 
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If I'm Armstrong, I'm thinking, "Great job Hutton, but Jake, please figure it out before the playoffs (and really before April)."

Best case scenario for the Blues is that Jake gets an opening (maybe a spot start or something) and he takes back over without the coaching staff steering it in that direction.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 10:47 am 
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I'm not sure how "long term" Jake really is. Ville Husso is heating up in San Antonio and will probably be the back up next season and until Allen's contract runs up which I think is 2 more years, yes?

Tonight? Get something going. I could go for a 10 game win streak. If Colorado can, why can't we?

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 11:38 am 
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glen a richter wrote:
I'm not sure how "long term" Jake really is. Ville Husso is heating up in San Antonio and will probably be the back up next season and until Allen's contract runs up which I think is 2 more years, yes?

Tonight? Get something going. I could go for a 10 game win streak. If Colorado can, why can't we?


That's roughly where I was going, but I didn't really want to take the time to fully explore the thought. I meant that Jake is obviously the named #1 for the duration of his current contract (2 more? 3 more?), and since he is getting #1 money it's a virtual lock he will be our starter for those remaining years (barring any shocking developments like a blown knee or a Miller trade).

Then what happens at the end of the contract? Do we let him go and make Husso the #1? I guess it depends on how Husso has performed in the interim as an NHL backup and whether "January Jake" continues to make an appearance every year.

And that's still too far in the future to really make any solid preditctions about. I just want stable goaltending. And we're getting it right now... just not from our starter.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 1:02 pm 
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While laying the blame solely at the feet of the goaltender, the Blues wingers were awful in defensive zone support in those lop-sided losses. Which was the same problem which happened at the same time frame last season. Is it January Jake or lazy mid-season wingers?? Schenn, Stastny, and Brodziak were trying defensively, only to see their wingers sitting above the circles near the wall while watching a 4th attacker skate to the center of the ice. (Yes, I left out Berglund...)

Let's not even get into what looked like a "tired" Pietrangelo choking on the point on power plays, fumbling pucks, making poor decisions, and allowing short-handed breakaways as a result of those errors. That's not Jake Allen making those mistakes.

Yeah, Allen gave up some he should have had, but there are far more where he was completely hung out to dry by wingers not protecting the center of the ice when both defenseman and the center have taken their men who weren't in the center of the ice.

Part of what happens when the Blues wingers get lazy, Jake over-plays things and winds up letting in bad goals. Same thing happened last season. Get back to fundamental positioning, get trust in d-zone coverage again, and Allen could easily go on another 2nd half run. But the team has to commit to that d-zone coverage, which they weren't doing, because they were cheating to try and create offensive chances due to the lack of scoring.

In other words, there is plenty of "blame" to go around beyond Jake Allen.

All of that stuff looked better the last game. We will see if they put the crappy Dec/Jan team away again and go on a similar roll as last season.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 7:30 pm 
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So what would be really groovy right now would be some shots on goal, just a suggestion.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 7:33 pm 
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Blues have a good PK, but are getting outshot 0-8. They need to pick it up.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 7:42 pm 
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Almost the end of Period1, and The Blues get their first shot on goal - a very weak one to the goalie's chest. :eek:

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:12 pm 
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Barbashev buries one! Blues lead 1-0!!! Goal scorer's goal - upper left corner, using the defensemen as a screen, perfectly.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:19 pm 
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Blues on the power play, but not doing so well on it.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:27 pm 
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Great play by Schwartz to draw the penalty and feed Schenn for a scoring chance!

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:38 pm 
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Great block of a 1-timer by Bouwmeester - saves a goal that would have gone in a wide-open net!!

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:41 pm 
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Good period (1-0), and they've passed The Habs in shots on goal, after starting the game off 0 shots to 13 against!

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:43 pm 
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Robb_K wrote:
Good period (1-0), and they've passed The Habs in shots on goal, after starting the game off 0 shots to 13 against!


Blues' first shot of the game came with 2:57 left in the first period. Glad they've picked it up since then.

And surprisingly... Bouweester has been having a pretty good game.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:04 pm 
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Blues go on the power play! Too many men on the OTHER team!!!

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:07 pm 
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Berglund bangs in the rebound!!! Blues lead 2-0!!! Good play by Thompson!

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:27 pm 
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Nice save by Hutton!

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:37 pm 
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Steen scores an empty-netter while The Blues are down 4-6 for the rest of the game!!!

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:40 pm 
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Blues hang on to win it!! Too bad they lost the shutout, but it's a big 2 points.

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