To call the Blues’ last road trip unimpressive is an understatement. After handling the Chicago Blackhawks and shutting them out 4-0, the Blues dropped three games in a row with the finale an overtime loss. The Rangers are a tough team, but the flat performance in the Blues’ 5-3 loss and the poor clearing attempts and concentration set the tone for the rest of the trip. Losing 2-1 to the Islanders was a continuation of the malaise, and it looked like the Blues were going to continue their poor play through the end of their 3-2 overtime loss to the Devils. Instead, they woke up and remembered they were playing a game at some point during the third period.
Unfortunately, getting three points out of eight possible points when you’re playing non-playoff teams (and the Rangers) isn’t what the team needs on the way to securing a playoff spot. Changes had to be made and the Blues decided to shake things up... on their fourth line.
Klim Kostin and Dakota Joshua were sent to the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds yesterday while Alexei Toropchenko and MacKenzie MacEachern have been recalled. Expect to see some different lines released later today before puck drop; between the roster moves and the fact that line adjustments helped wake the team up on Sunday afternoon it’s clear things aren’t staying status quo.
That’s a good thing, because while losses down the stretch happen, you don’t want a team to get too comfortable while getting mired in a streak.
The Blues need to turn up the pressure, and turning it up against another non-playoff team like the Senators is a good place to build some better habits.
The Senators lost Sunday night to the Vegas Golden Knights a on a backbreaking last minute goal from Jack Eichel. Ottawa has been near the bottom of the Atlantic Division standings all year, but their current five game losing streak (and 2-7-1 streak in the last ten games) has practically guaranteed themselves another postseason outside looking in. They’re exactly who the Blues should need to play right now, and also who the Blues probably don’t need to play if their complacency against non-playoff opponents is any indication.
This is Ottawa’s first trip to St. Louis since January 19, 2019. Much has changed for the Blues’ trajectory since then, but unfortunately the Senators’ hasn’t changed much.