Before the Blues’ game Tuesday in Ottawa, where they hadn’t won since January 2000, the players walked around the visiting locker room wearing T-shirts that read: “Road Warriors.”
The club owns the best home record in the NHL at 22-3-4, but playing on the road has been much more difficult. They were 8-11-3 heading into Tuesday’s game, losers of four of their last five.
In order to position themselves for a run at the playoffs, the Blues realize they have to be on the road, and with 18 of their final 30 games on the road, they’re keeping the goal in focus by wearing the shirts.
A 3-1 victory over the Senators, snapping a five-game losing skid that dated a dozen years in this city, was a good place to start.
“It’s something that we need to get a lot better at, especially down the stretch with the schedule we have,” Blues forward T.J. Oshie said. “We’ve established ourselves at home and now we need to bring that attitude on the road.”
The Blues need their top offensive players to contribute more on the road, which is what happened Tuesday. Oshie, David Perron and David Backes were each pointless in their last four games, but Perron scored two goals and Oshie and Backes assisted on the second one for a two-goal cushion, which eventually was the final score.
“You’re going to have to get that if you’re going to win on the road,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “Your best players have to score. We’ve struggled in that area here lately, but tonight was big.”
The Blues benefited from some shoddy goaltending by Ottawa’s Craig Anderson, who was chased from the game after allowing two goals on four shots, but the offense will take it.
“We’re not going to complain how it happens,” Backes said. “The fact is, we got two points out of the night and we’ll move on to another tough place to play in New Jersey.”
The Blues will wrap up their three-game road trip Thursday against the Devils.
D’Agostini may have suffered concussion
—The Blues were wary after Tuesday’s 3-1 victory over Ottawa that they might be facing the possibility of another concussed player. With Alex Steen and Andy McDonald already on the shelf with concussions, Matt D’Agostini left Tuesday’s game in the first period and did not return. It marks the second time this season D’Agostini exited a game after a blow to the head. The last time, in December, he missed a couple of practices but did not miss a game. The Blues, who are also without forward Jason Arnott (shoulder), are down to 11 healthy forwards. They’re expected to call up either Evgeny Grachev or Adam Cracknell from Peoria.
—The Blues’ David Perron was attributing his two-goal night to a visit to a hockey goods store in Ottawa Monday night. He walked into a local store, picked up a stick and took shots in a shooting alley for about 30 minutes. He did so without the sale clerk knowing that he was an NHL player. “He said, ‘You’ve got a helluva shot,'” Perron said. “I just started laughing and said, ‘Thanks.’ He probably thought I was some junior (hockey player) that played a while back and stopped playing. It was pretty funny. I never told him who I was.” After snapping a four-game scoring drought, Perron said as he packed his bags for the Blues’ next road game, “I guess I’ll have to find a store in New Jersey, too.”
QUOTE TO NOTE: “I haven’t played in a little bit, so just getting back out there and trying to do my best for the guys … that’s what it meant. You really want to get back in that winning feeling and obviously doing it here is pretty big for me.” — Blues G Brian Elliott, on the meaning of Tuesday’s win in Ottawa, where he played parts of five seasons before being traded last year.