First period, 'individualists' doom Blues in loss -

First period, 'individualists' doom Blues in loss

(HockeyStL) -- It has been a while since the Blues have skated off the ice to a chorus of boos from its fans, but a 3-0 deficit after the first period warranted such a response Tuesday night.

The atrocious 20 minutes of hockey started when a shot from Ryan Ellis deflected off Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo and past Brian Elliott.  It was only the second power play goal scored this season on the road for Nashville.

Clune and Spaling would each add a goal four minutes apart and put the Blues into a major hole.

“They were a step and a half ahead of us for the whole period -- they were harder on pucks, quicker to close, checked us to death, they were in the form that they played and played against top-level competition,” Ken Hitchcock said.  “They played really sound in the first period and we were not ready for that level so we got down 3-0.”

The Blues weren’t use to the rugged first period.  The team previously only allowed seven goals in the opening frame.

Even scarier, the Predators had only scored 12 goals in its previous eight games.  It was easy for the Predators to be overlooked especially playing on home ice.

“There shouldn’t be first periods like that anywhere,” David Backes said.  “It’s a level of compete that we haven’t shown this year and it definitely dropped off from our previous eight games.”

The Blues showed flashes of life to begin the second period, but a goal midway through doomed their chances and ended Brian Elliott’s night in net.

“We started to play good in the second and then gave up the fourth goal then it was over,” Hitchcock said.  “We’re not competing at the level we need to compete at.  We’re allowing the other team’s competitiveness to frustrate us and push us into individual hockey rather than team hockey.  That’s the thing we have to address. 

“We have to become a team again, reform ourselves into a team that loves to play in these type of hard games and we looked like we were discouraged by the level out there.”

Backes, who finished with no points and minus-two rating, shared the same feeling about the team’s effort.

“It’s somewhere we needed to show character and push back,” Backes said.  “There were glimpses of it certainly, but then we’d fall right back into a rut and show those glimpses of a little bit of individualists and looking out for me rather than us.”

The 6-1 losing effort also comes as a surprise when you consider the team was a league-best 33-6-5 at home prior to Tuesday.

“We take a lot of pride in this building and it seemed like that pride wasn’t there tonight,” Barret Jackman said.  “We tried to do things to get us going and it wasn’t enough.  With a shortened season, every point is going to count.  You can’t come out flat especially three days off and expect to win against that team.”

The Blues will have the chance to rebound from the loss against the Red Wings Thursday night.

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