ST. LOUIS – The Blues entered a five day hiatus in the regular season schedule on a sour note.
Panthers forward Vincent Trocheck scored with 4.6 seconds left in regulation on Monday, sending his team to a franchise best 5th straight road win and the St. Louis Blues to their 29th defeat of the season. The Blues succumbed back-to-back losses for the first time since the end of January, both following a stretch of 6 consecutive victories between February 6 and February 16.
“I think we put ourselves in a position where we should have a bad taste in our mouth for a couple of days,” Blues Head Coach Mike Yeo said to media after Monday night’s 2-1 loss to Florida.
The Blues are off until February 25 to reflect on their recent skid while building upon strengths that have lead them to a 7-3-0 record in their last 10 games and a 31-24-5 record overall (3rd in Central Division, 67 points).
“Yeah, it’s tough,” Blues forward Scottie Upshall said to media after Monday’s defeat. “But you shut your mind off, you prepare for a good long stretch run to close the season. We all realize what’s at stake now and we’re going to come back after the break with our best foot forward.”
At stake for Upshall and the St. Louis Blues will be a playoff berth, and right now serves as an opportune time for players and coaches to prepare, perhaps more mentally than physically, for what it will take to make a successful run in the next few weeks. Any break from the grinding 82 game regular season schedule is a chance for players to rest and recharge.
For the Blues, it will serve as an opportunity to regroup and refocus heading into March, when the team will play 10 of 15 games away from Scottrade Center.
There will also be plenty of pressure to perform well with little room for error in the Western Conference playoff picture. The Nashville Predators sit just 2 points behind idle St. Louis in the Central Division with one head-to-head matchup remaining (April 2 in St. Louis). Of the final 22 games on the regular season docket, the Blues will play Central Division teams in 9 of them.
The Blues return from break against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center next Sunday, February 26.