The Blues have won both meetings against the Blackhawks this season.
Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports
ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Blues’ loss to the Washington Capitals on Monday night has provided the team clarity for the final three games of the season. It’s win or go home.
“We understand where we’re at and we know what we have to do to win,” Blues defenseman Colton Parayko told nhl.com. “We’ve done it last week, the last couple of weeks, and it’s going to be a good couple tests against Chicago and then Colorado to finish it out. We know basically we’re in a win-out situation, so it’s going to be a good challenge for us and we’re looking forward to it.
“I know it’s tough to turn the page quickly, but that’s what we have to do and make sure that we’re ready.”
After winning six straight to climb into the playoff picture, the Blues (43-30-6, 92 points) have lost their last three and are one point behind the Colorado Avalanche (42-29-9, 93 points) for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
The Blues and Avalanche end their regular season at Colorado on Saturday, which could ultimately decide who is in and who is out. But first, the Blues will likely need to win a home and home against the Chicago Blackhawks, which starts at Scottrade Center on Wednesday night.
If Colorado loses at San Jose on Thursday night, St. Louis can afford to split the two games with the Blackhawks and still get in.
“There’s not a single part of me that doesn’t believe that we’re still going to get there,” Blues coach Mike Yeo told nhl.com. “It’s our job now as coaches to make sure that the players match that feeling.”
St. Louis’ situation could have been direr had the Los Angeles Kings not defeated Colorado 3-1 on Monday. The positive feelings from the reprieve were noticeable at the Blues’ practice Tuesday morning.
“For me, everything is about tomorrow,” Yeo told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch following the skate. “Move on. We have to look at, and we talked about, what we didn’t do well enough to win the hockey game yesterday and what we need to do better to win the game tomorrow.”
The Blues have won both meetings against the Blackhawks this season, including a 5-4 comeback overtime win in Chicago on March 18.
The Blackhawks (32-37-10, 74 points) are coming off a 5-0 drubbing at Colorado on Friday. Chicago might be playing out the string but would love to play spoiler to their longtime rivals.
“St. Louis being a big rival, these next two games on the road and at home here will be pretty intense games and the crowd will be into it,” Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane told Blackhawks TV. “It would be nice to see them miss the playoffs, so it would be nice to have a hand in that.”
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville confirmed following the team’s skate Tuesday that center Jonathan Toews (upper body) was out for Wednesday’s game but could play in the rematch in Chicago on Friday.
The Blackhawks announced Monday that they have recalled goaltender Jeff Glass on an emergency basis from the American Hockey League’s Rockford IceHogs and assigned goaltender Collin Delia to Rockford.
Even if the Blues do get into the playoffs, they will be without defenseman Carl Gunnarsson, who underwent surgery to repair a tear in his left ACL on Tuesday. Gunnarsson was injured March 23. He will be re-evaluated in six months.