Hurricanes rolling as they visit struggling Blues
ST. LOUIS — Two teams heading in opposite directions will meet Saturday night when the Carolina Hurricanes visit St. Louis to take on the Blues.
The Hurricanes (18-12-7) earned their fourth consecutive win Friday night, 2-1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, to improve their record to 7-1-0 in their last eight games.
“We’re playing our game. We’re playing quick. We’re a really fast team, and we’re using that to our advantage,” the Hurricanes’ Jaccob Slavin told NHL.com. “As a team, I think we’re starting to find that rhythm in the third (period) and figure out how to win games. That’s going to be important going down the stretch.”
The winning streak is a season-high for the Hurricanes.
“I think we’re playing with good confidence right now, and we just have to keep it going,” Carolina’s Sebastian Aho said.
Aho scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal for the Hurricanes against the Penguins late in the second period.
“Our team game is better,” Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. “And I think when our team game is better and in order and there is more trust and execution, we play faster, and therefore individuals look better,”
The Hurricanes will be taking on a Blues team still smarting from a 4-2 loss at Dallas on Friday night when the Blues blew a 2-1 lead in the final five minutes of the third period, giving up three goals. The loss was the seventh by the Blues (23-15-2) in their last nine games (2-7-0).
St. Louis had rallied from a 1-0 deficit on goals by Vladimir Tarasenko, his first in six games, and Tage Thompson just 65 seconds apart but could not hold the lead. The late Dallas flurry came after Jake Allen — who had to leave for close to 10 minutes earlier in the period to complete concussion protocol following a collision — came back into the game.
Coach Mike Yeo blamed himself for that decision.
“I feel bad for our team,” Yeo said. “I think looking back on that, that was a bad decision by me. I think I put Jake and the team in a bad position there. … It’s unfortunate for the players because they played their hearts out tonight.”
The game-winning goal came after the Blues’ Joel Edmundson was called for roughing and also given a 10-minute misconduct penalty, which only added to the Blues’ frustration.
“The call at the end of the game is ridiculous,” Yeo said. “There’s scrums all night and we end up short twice (including the Paul Stastny scrum) in those situations. Not sure how you make that call, but it is what it is.”
The biggest factor in the Blues’ losing streak has been a lack of offense. St. Louis has scored more than two goals only once in their last nine games, and the third goal in their game at Vancouver on Dec. 23 went into an empty net.
The Blues have scored only three power play goals in their last 29 opportunities, and failed to scored Friday night when they had a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:37.