Blues look for another ‘solid team effort’ at Vancouver
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — David Perron still believes.
Many people have written off the St. Louis Blues’ playoff hopes, but the winger begs to differ with them.
“Should we give up?” Perron asked reporters. “I think there’s a lot of hockey to be played. You look at the standings, we’re not where we want to be. We have some games in hand on some teams. And we can do some damage if we start playing the right way.”
The Blues (13-15-4) are in a good mood as they prepare to visit the Vancouver Canucks (16-17-4) on Thursday. St. Louis is coming off a decisive 4-1 road victory Tuesday over the Edmonton Oilers, a team that had been surging.
“It was a real solid team effort,” interim coach Craig Berube told reporters. “Man to man, everybody was dialed in and played a real solid game for 60 minutes.”
The Blues will try to repeat the effort against a Canucks team that has posted five wins in seven games. They hope to get more strong play from the Blues’ third line of veterans Pat Maroon and Tyler Bozak and rookie Robert Thomas.
Maroon netted the winner in Edmonton, producing just his second goal of the season, while Bozak scored in a one-sided loss to Calgary, ending a 19-game scoring slump. Before that goal, the third line had gone seven games without one. Now it has produced two markers in as many games.
Meanwhile, Blues defenseman Vince Dunn avoided a suspension Wednesday but still received a $1,942 fine from the NHL, following a cross-checking incident with Edmonton forward Jujhar Khaira. Both cross-checked each other, but Khaira’s infraction was deemed more harmful. He was suspended for two games and also fined $7,258 after receiving a major and game misconduct.
The Canucks, on the other hand, did not get a decision they were looking for. The NHL chose not to discipline Tampa Bay forward Danick Martel for a blind-side hit to the head of Canucks defenseman Troy Stecher on Tuesday.
In what might have been a major understatement on his part, Canucks winger Antoine Roussel called the lack of punishment for Martel “surprising.”
Vancouver coach Travis Green confirmed that Stecher, who was left woozy and had to be helped off the ice, suffered a concussion. Green vented into a referee’s ear after the incident but was more calm the morning after.
“When your player’s hurt, you want the league to do the right thing, but it’s not an easy job. They reviewed it,” Green told reporters. “We move on.”
The Canucks hope to move on from a 5-2 loss to the Lightning that featured some fights and fiery moments before and after Martel’s hit on Stecher.
But it’s clear that Tuesday’s fisticuffs, when Vancouver players stuck up for Stecher and rookie Elias Pettersson after he took a high hit from Cedric Paquette, had a galvanizing effect on the Canucks.
Roussel told reporters Wednesday after practice that he loved the display of emotions, but he was tired physically and mentally after the workout. Green was enthused, too.
“You hate losing, but I like the way our team is coming together,” he said.