(HockeyStL) – No matter what anyone says, ending the season losing six games in a row is not what anyone wants. However, the St. Louis Blues will wipe the slate clean in Thursday night’s opener against the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Blues and Blackhaws, finishing the regular season with 111 and 107 points respectively, have not played each other in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and if the Blues plan on winning the seven game series they will need to put the puck in the net.
In their last 6 games, the Note was outscored 22-10. In Thursday night’s playoff series opener, the Blues will get captain David Backes (27) and Vladimir Tarasenko (21) back in the line-up. Tarasenko has been out since March 15 and the Blues have sorely missed their Russian goal-scorer. For two guys who have scored 48 goals for the Blues, the offense will look for a needed boost from Backes and Tarasenko.
“Everything gets that much more important [in the playoffs], where you put the puck, where you place yourself in the D zone,” said Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, “It’s not as easy to come back from a goal or two in the playoffs.”
“We want to play the same way throughout this entire series.”
Unfortunately for the Blues, the Hawks get their captain, Jonathon Toews, and Patrick Kane back Thursday, as well.
“We learned against LA last year, that one game, two games doesn’t mean it’s over,” Backes said, “You’ve got to play a full series. If you take your foot off the gas for one second, the other team’s still got life.”
In the regular season series, the Blues were 3-2 against the Hawks, but scored three less goals in the season series.
Thursday marks exactly two weeks since the Blues have last won a game, but that doesn’t have Backes worried.
“We’ve won 52 games this years. I don’t think we’ve forgotten what that feels like,” he said, “We’re going to play with tons of energy tonight.”
“Until you’re shaking hands at center ice, there’s still life in both teams.”