The St. Louis Blues hope to reverse their midseason downturn when they host the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night.
The Blues are 1-4-1 in their last six games. They came out of the All-Star break with a loss at Vancouver, a shootout victory at Calgary, and losses at Edmonton and Winnipeg.
“We know what we’ve got to do,” Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo told reporters after the loss in Winnipeg on Saturday night. “We’re a pretty honest group. So we’ll get back at it on Monday and look at it, and have good, honest conversations. We know that we can be better in a lot of different areas. So I expect the next game for us to start a lot better than we have been.”
The Hurricanes, on the other hand, have won three of their last four games, with two of the victories coming in shootouts. Winger Justin Williams has scored two shootout winners since returning from his three-month sabbatical.
The Hurricanes have split the work of goaltenders Petr Mrazek and James Reimer in their last 10 games. Carolina allowed two or fewer goals six times during that span.
Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour didn’t like his team’s effort in a 4-3 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights at home Friday, but he liked the 4-3 shootout victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday in Raleigh.
“That was a pretty solid 60-minute effort. It didn’t feel like there were any lulls in there,” Brind’Amour told reporters afterward. “I thought we were pretty competitive throughout the whole game.”
The Blues are 17-4-4 overall at Enterprise Center this season and 9-0-1 in their last 10 games at home. They hope to exploit their home-ice edge against the Hurricanes, who are 12-10-2 on the road.
“We’ve had some adversity before. It’s no problem, we can handle it,” said Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington, who has allowed four or more goals in five of his last nine starts. “We got good leaders and a lot of talent on this team. We’re just going to keep working. We’re at home I think for a couple of games, so it’ll be good to get back and regroup and just keep working, right?”
The Blues put 109 shots on goal in their last three losses, but they struggled to finish. That prompted coach Craig Berube to juggle his lineup.
Veteran winger Troy Brouwer, who had been away from the team after clearing waivers, returned to play at Winnipeg. That was his first game since Dec. 18.
Despite their slump, the Western Conference-leading Blues lead the Central Division by eight points over the second-place Colorado Avalanche.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us,” forward Ryan O’Reilly said. “We’re still obviously in a good spot. We want to get back to winning games, but it’s doing the little things.”
The Hurricanes came out of the weekend holding the second wild-card slot in the Eastern Conference with a tiebreaker edge over the Philadelphia Flyers.
“The standings are pretty tight, so we’ve got to try and get every point we can get,” Hurricanes forward Warren Foegele said. “We got two there. Big road trip coming up and we’ll try to get on a run here.”
This is the first meeting of the season between the Blues and Hurricanes. Last season the teams split the series with each winning at home.
–Field Level Media