Blues try to emerge from their funk against Knights

NHL Hockey

The St. Louis Blues’ search for answers will continue Wednesday night when they carry a seven-game losing streak into a repeat matchup with the visiting Vegas Golden Knights.

St. Louis is 0-6-1 over the seven-game stretch and is 2-8-1 dating to March 13.

The Blues fell out of a playoff spot in the West Division last week and have just 18 games remaining in the regular season to get things back in order, including three against the second-place Golden Knights and four against the first-place Colorado Avalanche.

Mired in an offensive funk, the Blues have just eight goals during their seven-game slide. The stumble started with a 5-1 defeat to Vegas on March 22, with the most recent loss a 6-1 thrashing Monday by a Golden Knights team that scored four goals in the decisive second period.

St. Louis coach Craig Berube said he isn’t seeing anything close to the fight he needs from his team.

“It isn’t (there) right now,” he said. “They’re probably a pretty unconfident group right now when things don’t go right out there. Things are going to happen, goals are going to go in. You better be a lot mentally tougher than that, I’ll tell you that. That’s weak, weak-minded right now.”

In an attempt to change the team’s fortunes, Berube gave rookie goaltender Ville Husso his first ever back-to-back starts. But Berube pulled Husso midway through the second period when the Golden Knights scored three times in a 1-minute, 59-second stretch to take a 5-1 lead.

“We don’t start losing faith in anything; we really believe in our group,” Blues wing David Perron said. “Yes, there’s time, but we’ve got to start finding results.”

The Golden Knights found some of their offensive answers from a defenseman Monday. Alec Martinez scored two of Vegas’ first three goals in the victory, giving him seven for the season. The rush of offense was a welcome sight, especially after Vegas scored just five goals in an 0-2-1 run that was put to rest.

Vegas is in second place behind the red-hot Avalanche, who have earned a point in 15 consecutive games. The top spot is not out of the reach with a month of games remaining, including two against Colorado, which holds a four-point lead.

“Coming off the last two games, one of the things we didn’t like was not putting the puck in the back of the net,” Martinez said. “We tried to create opportunities. The forwards did a really good job of getting bodies in front of the goalie. It paid dividends.”

Counting Wednesday’s meeting with the Blues, the Golden Knights have 11 games to gain momentum before their two-game home showdown with the Avalanche. Seven of those games will be on the road, where Vegas is 11-6-0.

Vegas is 4-0-1 this season against the Blues and has won the past four while scoring at least five goals in each game. In Monday’s game alone, 15 Golden Knights players recorded at least a point, a franchise record for a single game.

“We had a lot (of players) contributing,” said Vegas’ Jonathan Marchessault, who scored the second-period goal that forced Husso from the game. “It’s a good feeling.”

–Field Level Media

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