(HockeyStL) -- Ten days ago, the Blues were two points behind the Blackhawks for the division lead with a 6-2-0 record and a four-game homestand in front of them.
Four games and only one point later, the Blues find themselves clinging to the eighth seed and nine points behind the Blackhawks. The Blues lost all four games during the homestand and has lost five consecutive games for the first time since January 2-12, 2011.
“Well, this is the home stand from hell,” Ken Hitchcock said after the Blues 4-1 loss to the Kings. “We lost our goalie, we didn’t play as well, and now we got to take this onto the road and we got to be much more accountable for each other.”
When it’s bad, it’s bad. The Blues were outscored 21-8 inside the Scottrade Center since February 5, the same building where the team is 33-9-6 since 2011-12.
“I think we just got a little complacent, took our foot off the gas,” David Backes said. “It’s no one’s fault but our own and the guys in this room. We need to really take a look in the mirror and be better for each other starting tomorrow in practice.”
The Scottrade Center was a once hostile environment for opposing teams, but in recent games the cheers have turned into jeers towards the home team. As a result, the attendance is beginning to be noticeably smaller. After seven home games, only one has been a sellout crowd -- the home-opener against the Red Wings.
“It’s an easy time to beat everybody up,” Hitchcock said. “We’re not playing with the sense of urgency collectively throughout our lineup for sixty minutes that’s necessary to win in the National Hockey League.”
Although there was little roster turnover, Hitchcock believes his current team is nothing like the 109-point team from a year ago.
“This is not the team that collected all of the points last year. This is the team that played in the playoffs. Players were missing. The team that collected all of the points was a worker-bee team -- so an easier sell,” Hitchcock added. “This is a team that has to find itself. We do have more skill, we do have more finish, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t compete at a high level.”
For the players, it seems the current identity of the club might be more about ‘me’ rather than ‘us.’
“It’s no secret. It’s going out there playing for the group,” Backes said. “We got too many guys that are out there looking at the stat sheet wondering how many goals, assists and cookies they got rather than taking a hit to make a play and get run over so that we can get a puck out so that your teammates can maybe have a three-on-two or so you can block a shot or kill a penalty when we really need it.
“We just don’t have that desperation, that accountability, that responsibility to each other.”
There is no end in sight for the Blues as it embark on a three-game road trip, which includes stops to Detroit, Calgary and Vancouver, starting Wednesday.
“There is no cavalry coming, there’s no rescue party coming to take care of us,” Hitchcock said. “We got to do it ourselves and the guys are going to have to find from within a much higher level of compete for each other.”
The team’s next game will come on the national stage against the Red Wings, who started this five-game skid, and will be broadcasted on the NBC Sports Network at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.