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2013 NHL Playoffs, Blues At Kings Game Four Preview: Blues Need To Regain Control

Funny, isn't it, how one loss can turn the dynamic of a playoff series.

No, David. That should be the puck, not you.
No, David. That should be the puck, not you.
Harry How

The Blues headed into Los Angeles leading two games to none, and with the very real possibility that the Kings could even things up. Saturday night, after a 1-0 loss in which the Blues missed the net multiple times, the dynamic of the series has shifted. The Blues need to fix their scoring and this situation soon, or else they might be looking at a longer series than they wanted.

The Blues had 30 shots on net. Thirty. Jonathan Quick has been an excellent goaltender in this series so far, but there's no reason that the Blues couldn't've converted on one of those shots. It's frustrating to watch, but this series is not going to be a high scoring affair. Brian Elliott has been excellent, and so's Quick. There's no reason why, in a playoff game, you should be the losing goaltender if you've allowed only one goal.

You can't complain much when your team has only allowed three goals over three games, and it bodes well for the Blues' chances this series. The Blues have never lost a series in which they've gone up two games to none, and it would be nice for the Blues to come home on Wednesday with a chance to close things out. They just need that offensive punch. But who can they get that from?

Oh, that's right. That Vladimir Tarasenko kid.

"I haven’t gotten that far yet," Hitchcock said. "That’s (Monday’s) decision. I’ll have to sleep on a lot of that stuff just to see what we need. I think he looks hungry and ready to play and I’m sure he’s going to play well when he gets in. But you’re not really sure if you want to screw around with the lineup right now when we’re playing so well, so I’ve got to balance that out right now."

Well, that's non-committal. Still you have to understand where Hitchcock is coming from - it totally makes sense that he would prefer to not mess up the lineup, because they have been playing very well. However, they need someone to score or to encourage others to score, and Tarasenko's worth a shot. Plus, he's not exactly a huge defensive liability.

The problem is, who do you take out? The fourth line has the most energy on the squad, so you can't sit anyone from there (well, you can, but I'm not sure if that'd help much). Do you bench one of the top forwards who haven't been scoring - can you risk that?

I have to say, I don't envy Hitch one bit.