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Wild At Blues Game Two Preview: Play Hard, Play Simple

The Blues need to do two things: stay on the puck and shoot the puck at the net. Let's see if that's difficult today.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Ok. Game two. If last night's 6-2 curbstomping of the Blackhawks by the Predators shows us anything, it's that two games can be as different as night and day.

It also shows how teams need to respond to adversity - the Predators absolutely shelled the shit out of Corey Crawford after losing Shea Weber to a lower body injury. After.

You want to send a message? Score three goals in the third period. You don't want to send a message? Take two thirds of the last period to realize that you need to start pressuring the other team's goaltender.

What do the Blues need to do to win today? They need to focus. They need to stop thinking. They need to act on instinct, and they need to shoot as many pucks possible at Devan Dubnyk. They did that at the end of the third on Thursday and two got through. No more shooting so far out that Dubnyk and the whole of the Wild have time to respond to your anticipated shot. Get close. Get uncomfortable. Make the Wild the team that needs to modify how it plays, not the Blues.

T.J. Oshie and David Backes are back together today, and NHL.com seems to think that's something to celebrate. If either guy played like he was in the playoffs on Thursday, sure, I could believe that. The upside is that Dmitrij Jaskin is still with Backes, and Jaskin played an excellent game the night before last.

The downside is that the Blues' lines are nowhere near what they were during their most successful games and stretches during the season. When the team scored, well, those were the lines that were iced in January. The Blues won down the stretch, but that could be nearly entirely because of Jake Allen. The Blues' scoring wasn't there.

"The way we finished is the way we started [Friday]," Hitchcock said after practice. "[Oshie] had moved up and played the last few shifts with David. We're familiar with that group. We'll keep trying to help the guys and see if we can get a little bit better chemistry for everybody here."

If there's something Thursday (and this season, frankly) should teach this team, it's that two goals don't cut it against the Wild anymore. The chemistry has been there with some lines during the season. When those lines don't skate together, the team has problems putting the puck in the net.

Today I don't know what to expect from the Blues, but I know what I've been conditioned to think. Counter-condition me, boys.