Struggling Blues brace for visit from Capitals
ST. LOUIS — The Arizona Coyotes, sporting the Western Conference’s worst record, haven’t exactly been world beaters this season, except when it comes to the St. Louis Blues.
The Coyotes pounded the Blues 6-0 on Saturday night in Phoenix, the most lopsided loss of the season for St. Louis. Arizona also beat the Blues 5-2 in Jan. 20 in St. Louis and the Blues had to rally for a 3-2 shootout victory at home on Nov. 9.
Blues coach Mike Yeo said something looked missing from the Blues.
“First off, I will say there were times where it looked like, yeah, we didn’t have the energy to have the gap or to be strong enough on the forecheck, whatever the case is,” Yeo told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“But we are certainly not going to allow that to be a factor, be an excuse here. You’re not allowed to be tired this time of year. That’s the bottom line.
“We’ve played the same amount of games in the same amount of time as everybody else now. We’ve got ourselves still in a good position. This is a frustrating, disappointing one. But we’re still in a good position and now we have to recharge tomorrow and get ready for the next one.”
Though the Coyotes have posted one of the league’s best records recently, 16-8-2 since Feb. 7, time is running out for excuses for a Blues team fighting for their playoff life.
The Blues (43-29-6, 92 points) trail the Colorado Avalanche by one point for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference, but the Avalanche have played one more game than St. Louis.
The Blues’ regular season ends on April 7 at Colorado in a game that could ultimately decide which team gets into the postseason.
But the Blues have three games before then, including hosting the Washington Capitals on Monday night.
“We got to look in the mirror tonight, tomorrow, recharge and get ready for Monday because they’re gonna be coming,” Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo told the Post-Dispatch.
Washington beat visiting St. Louis 4-3 in overtime on Jan. 7.
The Capitals are coming off a 3-1 victory over the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Sunday night. The win clinched the third straight Metropolitan Division title for Washington.
“That goes to the guys in the room and all the guys that put in the work all year,” Washington coach Barry Trotz told reporters. “Obviously a tough summer for us as an organization and just getting some traction getting out of the gates was as tough as it’s been and I think we sort of grew together. We understood what we might have to be just to get into the playoffs. The guys had a good push just to get us into this position and not fighting in the back end, which most people thought we would be this year.”