St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock talked following Thursday’s practice about the importance of finishing off the final five games before the Olympic break strong
Well, that didn’t happen Friday night as the Blues traveled to Carolina and lost to the Hurricanes 3-1.
St. Louis, which had won three straight games, fell to 36-12-5 and remains at 77 points after 53 games. Carolina improved to 25-20-9.
The good news is that the Blues return to Scottrade Center on Saturday for the first of four home games before the break.
Here is a quick look at three takeaways from the loss:
The St. Louis goalie turned away 28 of 30 shots on goal but had a four-game win streak snapped and suffered just his second loss in nine starts. He kept the Blues in the game but St. Louis couldn’t generate enough offense to take advantage of his performance.
Halak, who will sit Saturday as Brian Elliott takes a turn in net, had his best month of the season in January. The Blues went 6-2 in his eight starts and he recorded two shutouts and an impressive save percentage of .940 — even with seven goals allowed in losses against the Kings and Devils.
The Team Slovakia goalie’s strong month came after he struggled with an .885 save percentage in eight appearances in December.
The Blues’ penalty kill had not allowed a goal in the previous three games.
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They killed 12 of 12 penalties during those three victories, but allowed an early first-period power play goal in the first period Friday.
St. Louis is now 6-11-2 when its opponent scores first. That’s a winning percentage of .316.
Morrow had a rough night.
The Blues forward was in the penalty box three times, including twice in the first period. His early high-sticking penalty in the first turned into the power-play goal by Nathan Gerbe that put St. Louis behind.
Morrow saw just 7:43 minutes of ice time, the lowest mark among the Blues. His 6 penalty minutes were a season high.
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