Struggling Blues search to regain swagger, transfer up in playoff hunt

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Struggling Blues seek to regain swagger, move up in playoff hunt

Craig Berube stood again and watched his St. Louis Blues observe battle drills so he might see how gamers dealt with the scenario amid a seven-game dropping streak.

Anybody trying in from the surface can spy a group in serious trouble.

Berube’s Blues have misplaced 12 of their final 14 video games and are operating out of time to salvage their season and make the playoffs. Lower than two years since happening an unbelievable run to win the Stanley Cup, St. Louis has a brutal schedule down the stretch and faces an uphill climb to even qualify for the NHL postseason.

“We’re in a gap proper now and we’ve received to scratch and claw our approach out of it,” Berube mentioned Tuesday. “I do know this group cares, and issues aren’t going properly proper now. However to get out of it, you’ve received to maintain believing and maintain working and maintain competing and stick collectively. That’s the one approach you get out of it.”

The Blues wakened March 6 second within the West Division earlier than this free-fall began and now sit 5 factors again of the ultimate playoff spot with 18 video games to go. That’s not an unimaginable margin to erase, however 14 of the ultimate 18 video games are towards one of many prime three within the West: Vegas, Colorado or Arizona.

“We’ve received robust video games and nice alternatives, and clearly, the groups we’re taking part in all through the top of the yr listed here are the groups we’re going to need to get by means of to achieve our aim,” middle Tyler Bozak mentioned. “It’s going to be enjoyable. All of us love taking part in significant video games, and clearly, these ones imply quite a bit.”

They’ve meant quite a bit for a while, and the Blues have squandered loads of probabilities already. They’ve been outscored 25-8 in the course of the seven-game skid, proof that they’ll’t get a aim or a cease after they want it.

Accidents have hamstrung the Blues, from taking part in with out prime defenseman Colton Parayko from mid-February till Monday to dropping grinding ahead Oskar Sundqvist and defenseman Carl Gunnarsson to season-ending knee accidents. However Berube nonetheless expects the management group and core gamers to cleared the path out of this droop.

“That’s what these guys receives a commission to do is rating targets and to do the proper issues on a nightly foundation,” he mentioned. “We’re not getting that, so it’s robust to win. It’s the identical factor once I speak in regards to the goaltending. You want saves, and we’re not getting sufficient of them.”

That falls on goaltender Jordan Binnington, who got here out of nowhere to win the Cup in 2019 and was an All-Star final season. Binnington ranks thirty ninth within the league with a 2.77 goals-against common and forty third with a .904 save share.

Requested what he wanted to do higher, Binnington mentioned: “Simply make a pair extra saves. Similar method: Put together one of the simplest ways you possibly can and focus and provides the group an opportunity to win.”

Berube desires to see Binnington’s — and the entire group’s — swagger again, however the 27-year-old doesn’t suppose he ever misplaced it.

“I all the time have swagger,” Binnington mentioned. “Typically I simply do my job and make the saves I’m alleged to make, typically you do extra and also you wish to win these video games 1-0, 2-0. I all the time wish to play exhausting and have enjoyable doing it.”

It’s not a lot enjoyable for the Blues proper now and gained’t get any higher in the event that they don’t discover their sport shortly. Among the forged has modified, together with captain Alex Pietrangelo leaving for Vegas in free company, however this can be a comparable roster to the one which gained the Cup, so there’s perception contained in the locker room that not all is misplaced.

“We have now such an excellent group in there, and if there’s a bunch that’s going to show it round, that is the group to do it,” Parayko mentioned. “We’re sticking collectively. We’re going to make progress. We’re going to push. … I’ve little question that is the group to show it round.”

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