Blues return for an extended home stand

Thursday, 03.27.2014 / 12:37 PM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Gameday Blog
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Blues return for an extended home stand

ST. LOUIS - Ah…home sweet home.

Since the Olympic break ended a month ago, the Blues have played just four games at Scottrade Center and 11 on the road.

That changes tonight, when the team begins a five-game home stand and will play seven of their last 10 games at home.

“With all the road games we’ve had, I think guys are excited to finally play in front of their family and friends and play in front of the home crowd,” defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. “It’s certainly been a tough month for us in terms of travel and road games, but to have the success we’ve had, to be able to pick up some more points here at home is certainly a good feeling.”

First up is the Minnesota Wild, a team the Blues have beaten in eight consecutive games. The Wild currently have the first Wild Card spot in the Western Conference at 37-25-11 (85 points) and are a team the Blues could potentially face in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“Every team we’re playing it seems like is either fighting for playoff spots, looking for more points to jockey around in the standings, trying to find home ice, whatever it might be,” David Backes said. “We’re never going to get a slack game in the last 10. We have to make sure we bring our A-game and that we’re concentrating on bringing what we have to the table.”

Added Ken Hitchcock: “We’ve had a really tough schedule here since the Olympic break, and now we’re at home and we get to have a few quality hockey practices along with some great competition in the games. I want us to take advantage of this. It’s also about sending a message to whoever comes in here, especially from the West. We want to send them a message that we’re back playing in a tough building.

“All we’ve done is one and out. We’ve come home, played a game and gone back out on the road. That’s what it feels like anyway. Now we’re at home, I want us to really get energized and really send a message to teams coming in here that this is not going to be fun (for them).”

BACKES TRENDING

In the month of March, David Backes has seven goals, which ties him for fifth overall in the League. His 27 goals this season are just four away from his career-high of 31, which he’s reached twice.

What’s sparking the captain?

“He has really good focus during the competition,” Hitchcock said. “He doesn’t try to engage in things emotionally unless it’s necessary. He’s able to play with more sense of control. I think you see it in his second and third effort on pucks. His determination to play whistle to whistle…I think he’s a more effective player because of it. I don’t want to say he conserves energy, but he’s using it in the right areas and it’s really benefiting him.”

LINEUP NOTES

Derek Roy returns to the lineup tonight after missing two games with a lower-body injury. Roy will play with Brenden Morrow and Steve Ott, a combination Hitchcock said he’s used together in three previous games but had to break it up due to injury or to help out other lines. “It’s three veteran guys that know how to read off each other,” Hitchcock said.

BLUE NOTES

The Blues have earned points in 11 of their last 13 games (10-2-1). They have also collected points in nine consecutive home games (7-0-2).

Kevin Shattenkirk has one goal and six assists in his last seven games vs. Minnesota.

T.J. Oshie has points in three straight against the Wild (two goals, one assist).

Alexander Steen has two goals and four assists in his last seven vs. Minnesota.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Steen 68 33 29 17 62
T. Oshie 79 21 39 19 60
D. Backes 74 27 30 14 57
J. Schwartz 80 25 31 28 56
A. Pietrangelo 81 8 43 20 51
K. Shattenkirk 81 10 35 1 45
V. Tarasenko 64 21 22 20 43
D. Roy 75 9 28 -1 37
J. Bouwmeester 82 4 33 26 37
V. Sobotka 61 9 24 14 33
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
B. Elliott 18 6 2 .922 1.96
R. Miller 25 30 4 .918 2.64

 
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