Posted on April 27, 2014 at 6:22 PM
Sunday, Apr 27 at 6:33 PM
(Hockey StL) -- The Blues insisted all along this was not another repeat of last year when they lost four straight following two opening series wins against the Kings. It was a more mature team, they claimed.
It was all wrong apparently.
The Blues say they are sick to their collective stomach that they couldn't muster anything more than a 1st round playoff exit after winning 52 games in the regular season. The worst part was losing 10 of 12 to end the season overall.
"It's tough. We had some banged up bodies. At one point we were playing with half our lineup out so I don't know if that was a huge thing," Ryan Reaves said. "Our play after winning the first two games in the playoffs is what hurt us."
After two periods it was 1-1. Just seconds into the third period it was 2-1 Chicago. But it was what came next that the team believes hurt the Blues the most. A breakaway goal to stretch the lead to 3-1 just a couple minutes into that final period.
"It was a back breaker," Ken Hitchcock said. "The bench was still fine. Our team still had great spirit at the start (of the 3rd period). We played as well as we've ever played in this building in the first two periods. But that third goal (by Chicago) the air went right out of the bench."
Despite the fact the Blues bowed out in the first round of the postseason yet again, there are many in the locker room who think this team is on the cusp on greatness. Many point to health towards the end of the year as a potential reason for their poor play. It's not an excuse, they say, but that doesn't change the fact that this team can compete for a title soon.
"Real close," Steve Ott said. "The character in this room is phenomenal. A little bit healthier team heading into the playoffs would be a scary team. This team is real close to being something special here."