Offense rolling as lethal four lines come together - KMOV.com

Offense rolling as lethal four lines come together

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ST. LOUIS – Alexander Steen’s return to the lineup Tuesday finally provided the Blues and fans an opportunity to see three lethal and healthy lines. And the result sent waves of excitement rolling through the locker room and into the seats at Scottrade.

Steen notched two assists and one skater on each of the top three lines scored in the club’s 3-1 victory over Colorado. It was the kind of production the Blues knew was possible and fans dreamed about as the team inches closer and closer to full health.

“I think when we’re playing like that it’s tough to match,” said Paul Stastny. “We all bring something different. We’re all hunting the puck down. I think all four lines can create a lot of puck movement, a lot of possession, and I think that’s when we’re at our best.”

St. Louis posted a 10-2 record in March led by Stastny’s 14 points and Vladimir Tarasenko’s seven goals. In 11 of those games the team scored three or more. The point production has been balanced among the top nine forwards. Behind Stastny (14) and Tarasenko (12), Jaden Schwartz tallied 11 points with Robby Fabbri close behind at nine. Troy Brouwer, David Backes and Patrik Berglund racked up four goals each.

“If we can get a higher level of execution on a consistent basis we have the potential for four lines,” said Ken Hitchcock. “To me our execution with the first three sets up our fourth line and if we can get that then we’re going to be in good shape.”

The chemistry between Kyle Brodziak and Scottie Upshall produced six points this month including three goals, one shorthanded. Their hard work doesn’t go unseen.

“I honestly think our fourth line has been our best line the past few games,” Steen admitted. The assistant captain recognized how impressive the Brouwer-Stastny-Fabbri line is, but continued to praise the fourth line for their consistency. “They’ve played unbelievable for us and killed huge penalties.”

Their potency on the scoreboard is vital in this final week of the season. Central Division teams are clawing their way to home ice advantage. With their win Tuesday the Blues passed the 100 point plateau, but they were unable to gain any ground on the Stars who beat Nashville Tuesday.

“Welcome to the Central Division,” said the Blues captain in a huff.  “It’s a win and keep pace or lose and drop a step. That’s just the way it’s been in the Central for the last four or five years. If you’re not at 105 or 110 [points] you’re starting the playoffs on the road in the Central. You want to be the best, you have to beat the best.

“We’ve had plenty of trial by fire playing in that Central Division. Now we’re over 100 and that’s another feather in our cap. Now we’ll look to secure home ice and after we do that we’ll look at that first round matchup and go down the list.”

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