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Blues at Devils preview: Salvage the road trip

Will the Blues choose to play more than the last minute and a half of today’s game?

St Louis Blues v New Jersey Devils Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Yesterday’s game was not an inspiring one for the Blues. Sure, there were fights - Klim Kostin especially seemed to make a statement about staying in the lineup - but the early start caught the Blues sleeping.

They eventually woke up for the last half of the third period, but it wasn’t enough. Craig Berube was as enthusiastic about the team’s play after the game as they were before it started:

“[We were] flat for a couple of periods,” St. Louis coach Craig Berube said. “Third period we woke up and started doing things right, pressuring them. We had some opportunities and made it a one-goal game.”

The wonkiness of the Blues first goal - a poor pass, an uncorralled puck, and an unhugged post - makes it easy to assume that the Blues could’ve gotten a point out of the game had none of the early mess happened. That’s easy to assume, but hard to justify. The team absolutely needs to get going today against the Devils to avoid a three-game losing streak at a time where they should be looking for grabbing “easy” points to secure some odds of home-ice advantage.

There are no actual easy points in this league, as the Blues learned the last time they played the Devils. Back on February 10th, the Blues allowed five third-period goals en route to a 7-5 loss. The Devils may be dead last in the Metro and on a two game losing streak themselves, but the Blues should have enough memory retention to know how difficult of a team the Devils can be when they put their minds to it.

David Perron may still be out due to illness; he was a late scratch yesterday, leaving a roster spot open for Kostin. Perron or no, if the Blues want to put a damper on the Devils’ offense - especially Nico Hischier - they’re going to have to have a better defensive game. Another early start is tough, but the Blues are going to have to be more awake and aware if they want a road-trip split.