Reaves, Cole to Play in Game 4
Saturday, 05.05.2012 / 5:16 PM
Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said he wants to add more size and speed to the lineup, so Ryan Reaves and Ian Cole will suit up to play in Game 4.
"We keep pulling speed into the lineup and it works," Hitchcock said. "(Matt) D'Agostini was good. Obviously (Chris) Stewart was good. So Reaves brings more speed, more size, we're trying to get a little bit better."
Cole last played in Alex Pietrangelo's spot in Game 2 on April 30.
"Cole will play. Again, more size," Hitchcock said. "Last game was our best game, so tomorrow hopefully we'll be a little bit better."
Ask any Blues player or coach what went wrong in Game 3 and you'll probably get a variety of answers.
But one issue seems to come up frequently: the unnecessary penalties, usually retaliatory in nature.
"We keep shooting ourselves in the foot by taking uncharacteristic penalties and giving them all the momentum," defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo said. "In a series like this, we have to find better ways to control our emotions and make sure we stay out of the box."
On Thursday, Kings' captain Dustin Brown had the Blues visibly upset. He drew three penalties against St. Louis in that game alone: the first against Alex Steen for roughing, the second against Matt D'Agostini for slashing, and one for Andy McDonald, who took a two-minute penalty for tripping.
Fortunately for the Blues, the penalty kill has been largely successful: they've only given up one power-play goal to the Kings in this series. But if the Blues are to come back from a three-games-to-none deficit, they'll need to have much more discipline.
"In this series, we haven’t been disciplined enough, and that’s something we have to correct at all costs," forward David Perron said. "With (the Kings), even if they’re not scoring (on the power play), it takes a lot of energy from our penalty killers trying to kill that penalty."
ONE GAME AT A TIME
The Blues find themselves in a huge hole, so rather than focusing on the big picture, they're planning to take baby steps to climb back into this series.
"We thought (it might take) about seven games at the beginning of the series and that's what it's going to take," David Backes said after Thursday's 4-2 loss in Game 3. "(So) we start with one in Game 4."
"You can’t think about winning four games, you have to think about winning one, and that’s our focus. Try to make sure we win one and bring it back to St. Louis," Jamie Langenbrunner said. "The bigger picture might be a little daunting, but taking small steps is not as big of a deal."
Everyone seems confident that if the Blues can win Sunday and force a Game 5 back in St. Louis, the tide could turn.
"We just have to bounce back and have a little more from everyone," Perron said. "(If) we take this thing back to St. Louis, it’s going to be a different story and we get the win in St. Louis and all of a sudden it’s 3-2 in the series."
Added defenseman Barret Jackman, "When we came in here, we started talking about if we can get a game back to St. Louis, all the pressure goes on them. We know how well we can play in our building."
- The Blues will need to win four consecutive games to advance to the Western Conference Finals, and they've had more four-game win streaks than any other team in the NHL this season (8). One of those streaks came in Round 1, when the club beat San Jose in four straight. "We've done a lot of (winning) this year, so no reason why we can't do it again," Colaiacovo said.
- The Blues have won four straight against the Kings three times in the last decade, including a seven-game unbeaten streak from December 2009 to March 2011. Dan O'Neill of the Blues' PR staff notes that Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick played in all seven of those games, posting an 0-6-1 record, a 3.69 goals-against average and an .872 save percentage.
- Chris Stewart scored his first goal of the Playoffs this season in Game 3, and then added another one before the night was through. The Blues also got a two-goal Playoff effort from Patrik Berglund in Game 1 of their series vs. San Jose.
- Sunday's game airs on NBC and on 101 ESPN in St. Louis. The puck drops at 2 p.m. CT.