TORONTO - Tonight’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs will be a homecoming of sorts for several Blues.
Alex Pietrangelo grew up just over an hour north of Toronto in King City. Carlo Colaiacovo and Chris Porter are both Toronto natives, and Alexander Steen, although a Winnipeg native, spent three years with the Maple Leafs.
“It’s always special to come home and see the family,” Pietrangelo said after Tuesday’s morning skate, which was his third in Toronto. “Last night was a great opportunity to kinda catch up with everyone. You don’t get that chance too often, so I made sure I took advantage of it. I saw the parents, saw the grandparents and slept in my own bed. (I have) lots of energy today.”
Pietrangelo said his parents, grandparents and a few buddies will be at the game tonight, which begins at 6 p.m. CT on FOX Sports Midwest and KMOX 1120 AM.
The Blues will be facing a Maple Leafs team that has lost five consecutive games and is barely hanging on to the last wild card spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
“They’re going to come. We’re aware of it,” Steen said. “This is an emotional building for them as well and they want to come out and play well in front of their fans. Saying that, we’ve got to make sure that we play the way that we play.”
Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said the players won’t just write this off as a bad performance and forget about it.
“Other people might say it’s just a bad game, but this group doesn’t do that,” Hitchcock said after Friday’s practice. “These players are invested in a lot of things this year that are important for them, and one of the things is playing well in big games. They were really disappointed in the way things went.
“The way they practiced (Friday), to me, showed how much they cared. They care deeply, and quite frankly, that might be the impetus to get us to another level.”
The Blues won’t have much time to dwell on the loss. Starting with Saturday’s noon game against the Flyers, the Blues will play three games in four days on the road. Sunday, they’ll meet the Pittsburgh Penguins before heading to Toronto for a Tuesday night matchup with the Maple Leafs.
“We know it wasn’t our best effort (against Chicago). But to get to the playoffs, you’ve got to get ready and try to move on and learn from the experiences,” defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. “It’s a great experience for us, with the success we’ve had, to learn from (this) and that’s what we’re going to do. We've got two games back to back here to get us back on track.”
“We believe in what we have in this room.”