ST. LOUIS — It sounds simple, but the St. Louis Blues know exactly what they need to do if they want to start winning games.
“We can’t get zero (goals) or one goal at the end of the third (period),” said forward Patrik Berglund. “You’re not going to win games like that.”
The Blues will play the Winnipeg Jets in a home-and-home series beginning Saturday night in St. Louis as they try to find answers for their scoring drought.
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Berglund’s goal on Thursday night came with just under six minutes to play with the Blues losing 3-0 to the Anaheim Ducks. It followed a 3-0 loss to Tampa Bay two nights earlier.
It’s the continuation of a trend that has been going on for a while. After beginning the year 5-0 at home, the Blues are under .500, 6-7, in their last 13 home games and have been shut out three times.
Nobody is struggling more than Vladimir Tarasenko, who has only two goals in his last 11 games, one of which was into an empty-net, but coach Mike Yeo is not pointing fingers at any one player for a team-wide problem.
St. Louis scored just 10 goals in its last six home games.
Part of the problem has been the team’s performance on the power-play, where the Blues scored only twice — both times in the same game — in their last 23 opportunities.
“We’ve tried a lot of different combinations,” Yeo said. “For me, the most important thing is that it’s always about the next one. I think right now we’re carrying a lot of baggage from the previous power play, and things aren’t going well into the next one. You could be 0-for-7 in a game, but you get one opportunity and that could be the difference-maker, and I think we have to make sure we develop that mindset. … We have to adjust our plan a little bit.”
The Jets, who trail the Blues and Nashville Predators by three points in the Central Division race, are coming off a home loss themselves, 5-1, on Thursday night against the Chicago Blackhawks. It was their first regulation loss at home in 11 games.
“I don’t think we need to look anywhere to be honest. We just need to play the game,” Jets forward Nikolaj Ehlers told the Winnipeg Sun. “We’ve got 50 games left, so there’s still a lot of work to do. Looking at the standings right now, we’re in good shape but we need to keep working on our game. We need to get better. We can’t start games the way we did today (Thursday) and I’m positive the guys are pretty set on getting that changed quickly.”
Winnipeg is in a stretch of four consecutive division games, playing Nashville on Tuesday night after the two games against the Blues.
“It’s a really big challenge for us before the break,” Bryan Little told the Sun. “They’re all big games, they’re all division games and they’re all against good teams.”
Added coach Paul Maurice, “There’s a lot of truth to the standard lines — ‘one game at a time,’ and ‘it’s just another game’ — and I get all that. But when we haven’t seen these teams — normally we see them so often — there is a rivalry, there is an intensity built into these games.
“They’re exciting games to watch. They’re exciting games to coach.”