The Carolina Hurricanes, with a 42-15-7 record, are tops in the Atlantic Division and third overall in the league. They’re lightyears ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers, who the Blues lost to in a mortifying fashion on Thursday night.
The Blues record against bad teams is... bad. Jordan Binnington’s record against bad teams is also bad. If it weren’t for the Blackhawks, both records would be even worse. There’s been chatter all season - and honestly, seasons before this one - about the Blues playing down to the opposition, and how they seem to lack motivation against teams that they feel they “should” be able to beat. They don’t beat them and they miss out on points. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Thursday night, and Friday in an interview with media after practice, Craig Berube called it what it was - arrogance.
Berube on whether Blues' recurring problems reflect poor leadership: "I think it's the attitude of the whole team, in my opinion. Like I talked to you guys about arrogance (Thursday night). I don't just put that on the leaders. I put it on everybody. That's everybody." #stlblues— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) March 25, 2022
That arrogance is being communicated throughout the team, and has been to some degree or another since the team won the Stanley Cup. Maybe fans, media, and the coaching staff falling back on the “this is a Cup champion team!” as the default response whenever they’d suffer a particularly bad loss or a poor stretch of play wasn’t a good idea.
Whatever the root cause of this arrogance is, tonight’s game should snap them right out of it. The Hurricanes have been going through a rough patch of play, dropping four in a row, winning earlier this week against the Lightning, and then dropping a game in a shootout in Dallas.
The Canes’ offense is going to pose challenges for the Blues’ defense, especially with Torey Krug being out week to week. Keeping the Hurricanes off of the power play is going to be key, especially with Sebastian Aho getting large amounts of time with the man advantage. Twenty-four of his 63 points are power play points this season.
The last time these two teams met, the Blues held their own but still lost 3-2. That was on the road, and this one is at home - though if Thursday’s loss is any indication, the Blues can phone it in wherever they’re playing. It’d be shocking to see them respond with a dull performance tonight.