Blues clinch fifth-consecutive postseason appearance - KMOV.com

Blues clinch fifth-consecutive postseason appearance

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St. Louis Blues surround teammate Kevin Shattenkirk after his game winnning goal in overtime against the Dallas Stars during in an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016, in St. Louis. The Blues won 2-1. (AP Photo/Bill Boyce) St. Louis Blues surround teammate Kevin Shattenkirk after his game winnning goal in overtime against the Dallas Stars during in an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016, in St. Louis. The Blues won 2-1. (AP Photo/Bill Boyce)
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For the fifth-consecutive season, the Blues have punched their ticket to the Stanley Cup Playoffs thanks to a 4-0 win over Vancouver Friday evening.

“I’m proud of the players and I am really proud of the coaching staff because we managed a really tough time with a lot of players missing in a very direct and concise way and it got us points,” said head coach Ken Hitchcock.

The win earned the Blues their 96th and 97th points of the season, which, besides clinching a playoff spot, ties them with Dallas for the top spot in both the Western Conference and Central Division.

“We talked about it before the game,” said goaltender Brian Elliott. “You work so hard during the season to lock that up. These last few games, we've definitely done a great job of playing our style of hockey. We want to be playing going into the playoffs and to solidify it tonight in front of our home fans, it puts icing on the cake. We've still got work to do and it's just a first step in a mountain climb here.”


Read: Edmundson's first NHL goal comes as a relief


Though it’s their fifth-straight postseason appearance, Hitchcock says this one isn’t the same. It was a season plagued by injuries, so much so that the team has yet to field a fully-healthy lineup through 75 games.

“This one feels different,” said Hitchcock. “This one was up for grabs. This was a real challenge. It was a challenge where, without an experienced coaching staff, this could have gone off the rails. You see it with other teams where it went off the rails.

“We got points in games where we didn’t score. We got points in games where we weren’t the best team but we frustrated the opposition. That’s experience and that’s what I am proud of.”

With a tight Western Conference race still ongoing, the Blues are fighting a more favorable first-round matchup and home ice advantage. Both are within reach if the club can hang onto a lead in the conference and their own division.

“We have lots of games to play before then and lots of things we have to get done,” said Hitchcock. “I think this is step one. We have worked all year to get to the top and I don’t want to see us give this up. I don’t think the players do, either.”

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