Blues aim for third straight win vs. Senators

ST. LOUIS — What seems like a simple task of winning two games in a row proved elusive for more than a month for the St. Louis Blues.

Now that they finally reached that goal, however, they don’t see any reason for their winning streak to stop at two.

A 4-0 win Saturday in San Jose and a 2-1 overtime triumph in Anaheim on Sunday night marked the first time the Blues won back-to-back games since a three-game winning streak ended on Dec. 1.

They will try for a third consecutive win as they return home Tuesday night to host the Ottawa Senators.

“On the road, especially, it’s a good feeling,” said defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. “I think we not only found our game, but found our game on the road, which has obviously been a cause for concern for us.”

Both wins came with backup Carter Hutton in goal, playing in place of struggling starter Jake Allen. Allen was pulled early in three of his last five starts but coach Ken Hitchcock has not said whether Allen or Hutton will get the start against the Senators.

Hutton said he thought the team’s success came from its overall mental approach more than how he played in goal.

“It’s a little bit mental,” he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “All these guys are pretty tremendous athletes and this league is really good. That’s the biggest thing. You can’t take nights off. When you play higher-end teams, you have a little more focus. We’re a little tighter. It’s just consistency, playing a full 60 minutes, battling.”

Both goals in Sunday night’s win were scored by center Patrik Berglund, his ninth and 10th of the season.

“He’s just playing so well,” Hitchcock told the Post-Dispatch. “It’s really impressive to see how well he’s playing, how gritty he’s playing. I think he’s playing well because he’s playing so darn gritty. This is as heavy as I’ve seen him play for a long time. He’s lugging the puck, he’s carrying us out of trouble, he’s killing penalties, playing on the power play … he’s carrying a huge load for us right now and like I said, this is the best I’ve seen him compete and that’s why he’s having success.”

The Senators will open a three-game road trip with the game against the Blues, also the official start to their second half of the season.

For them to continue to hold onto a playoff spot, the players know they will have to play better defensively than they did in their last game, a 4-2 loss at home on Saturday night to Toronto.

“There’s more pressure to play well defensively and that’s the main focus,” forward Zach Smith told the Ottawa Sun. “The coaching staff has made it known right from the start if you’re not going to play the defensive game you’re not going to play.

“Everyone has made sacrifices in their games — especially the offensive guys they have to make sacrifices to think defense first before offense and getting points. That’s a great testament to see that everybody had bought into that and that’s why we’ve cleaned up our defensive zone.”