Blues, Stars look to regain footing in season series finale (Jan 07, 2017)
ST. LOUIS — Two teams that have been consistently inconsistent of late will meet on Saturday as the Dallas Stars visit the St. Louis Blues.
Since a three-game winning streak ended on Dec. 1, the Blues have gone more than a month without winning consecutive contests. They also have avoided a losing streak, however, only twice dropping consecutive games – and one of those losses came in overtime.
Since Dec. 20, the Blues have alternated wins and losses in each of their last six contestss, failing again to win back to back games with a 4-2 loss at home to the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night.
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“It’s frustrating,” center Paul Stastny said. “If there was a way we could put our finger on it, it would be the first thing we would try to fix. That’s more mental than anything, I think. That’s the part we’ve got to sharpen up. Nobody is going to help us.
“It’s been win one, lose one, win one, lose one. You do that you’re going to be a .500 hockey team and scratching just to get in the playoffs. It’s almost 40 games into the season so we have to find a way to turn this around within the next 10-game stretch before the All-Star break.”
The Stars are in a very similar position. They come into Saturday night’s game having lost two in a row after a season-high three-game winning streak. They lost in overtime at home to Montreal on Wednesday night.
“I just feel like we’ve left a couple of points out there,” coach Lindy Ruff said.
Like Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, Ruff believes the Stars have been hurting themselves with mistakes and by taking poor penalties. That was the case again against the Canadiens.
“The disappointing part tonight is the overtime,” Ruff said after the game. “The disappointing part is the third period to take the second penalty because it’s on a nothing play. When it comes down to it, if you’re under pressure or under duress you may see that play. But when you’re not under duress and there is no immediate danger, to throw a puck in that area is just a fundamental mistake. It’s a sloppy mistake. It’s mistakes that hurt you eventually and that hurt us tonight.”
Both the Blues and Stars can look at the standings and realize neither is in a position where they can continue to give points away that they may need by the end of the season.
“There’s so much parity in the league, there’s so much closeness throughout the league,” Blues goalie Jake Allen said. “If you do that, it’s really tough to grab hold of the standings and climb your way up. I think you need to string together a few. You’re not going to be a Columbus and string, whatever they’ve (had), but we need to string a few together to get moving.”
Ruff believes the same thing.
“We are in a league that is incredibly tight right now,” he told NHL.com on Friday. “We are in a pack of teams that we are really tight with. With the number of injuries we’ve had, it has put us in that position. But I think our game is in the right place now to push ahead.”