ST. LOUIS — Losses will come during an NHL season, but some hurt more than others.
The word that described the St. Louis Blues’ 6-2 drubbing against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night was “disturbing.”
“That’s disturbing, that’s disappointing that we’re coming out and … the turnovers that we had in the first period, instead of making it hard on (Minnesota) and making it a really tough night, we didn’t do that,” Blues coach Mike Yeo told NHL.com. “We made it easy and we allowed them to get going. Yeah, that’s something we’ve got to fix obviously.”
The latest setback continues a trend of embarrassing home losses, including a 7-4 loss to Florida on Jan. 9 and a 5-2 loss to Arizona on Jan. 20.
“I wish I had an answer for you but I don’t,” Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo told NHL.com. “The goalies stand on their heads for two months and then we do that to them. Just disconnected all over the ice.”
The good news for the Blues is that they have responded with strong home efforts, at least for a few games, immediately following those losses. They hope to continue that as they host the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night.
The bad news for the Blues is the trend has continued as the Central Division race has tightened and every point comes at a premium. St. Louis (30-23-3) still sits third in the division with 67 points, but are just five points from being out of a playoff spot and the teams immediately beneath the Blues all have games in hand.
“It’s all about urgency,” Blues right wing Alexander Steen told NHL.com. “At this time of the year, (it’s) urgency and preparation. What you’re gonna see now down the stretch, this is where the games start to tighten up, and you’re not gonna get anything for free.”
Colorado (29-19-4) has 62 points but sits one point out of a playoff spot. The Avalanche have three games in hand on the Blues.
The Blues beat the Avalanche 3-1 at Scottrade Center on Jan. 25. The Blues are 15-3-3 in their last 21 games against the Avalanche.
The Avalanche are coming off a 3-1 win at home over San Jose on Tuesday. Colorado did that without 25 percent of its goal-scoring as forwards Nathan MacKinnon (shoulder) and Mikko Rantanen (lower body) missed the game.
Rookies Tyson Jost and J.T. Compher stepped up, scoring a goal and an assist each. Goalie Jonathan Bernier made 38 saves.
“We lost two of our best players, (including) one of the best players in the NHL right now,” Jost told the Denver Post. “Guys had to step up and I really wanted to be one of those guys. I want to make a difference every time I get on the ice.”
In his postgame press conference, Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said Rantanen could return Thursday at St. Louis.
“It’s something every team goes through,” Bednar told the Post after the team’s morning skate Tuesday. “Every team in the league is going through injuries to some high-profile guys.”