By Rob Rains
Over the course of a seven-game homestand that wrapped up Sunday, the Blues played well enough to win four games, played poorly enough to lose twice and managed to turn a winnable game into a loss.
That happened on Sunday and it left the Blues in a frustrated mood after the 3-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild at Enterprise Center.
“Made the wrong mistakes at the wrong times,” said coach Mike Yeo. “The mistake is not being firm enough with your play. … We’re not making a hard enough play or a strong enough play and it ends up in the back of our net.
“You can’t just play not to get beat or play safe. You’ve got to be in the right position to defend aggressively.”
Mistakes led directly to two of Minnesota’s goals, including the game-winner midway through the third period when Colton Parayko had a chance to clear the puck out of the slot and didn’t do it, setting up the goal by Mikael Granlund.
“You’ve got to recognize you’ve got the puck in a dangerous area and slap it out,” Yeo said. “Do whatever you can. If somebody happens to be in the way then it should hurt. You’ve got to get it out of there as hard as you can.
“It’s not just him. I think we had the puck on a stick four times there. We’ve just to be better.
“You’ve got to make those plays. You’ve got to bear down. Sometimes making a play is just getting the puck out of your own zone, sometimes making a play is a hard play, or a more poised play. Whatever it is you’ve just got to bear down.”
A turnover in the neutral zone set up Minnesota’s second goal, which came just 25 seconds after Chad Johnson gave up a goal on a rebound off a shot off the crossbar early in the second period. Johnson had allowed just one goal on the previous 80 shots against him over two-plus games,
Alex Pietrangelo got the tying goal later in the period, but the mistake in the third period cost the Blues two points and made a difference in the overall feeling about the homestand.
“We easily could have got that into OT and we didn’t,” said Ryan O’Reilly. “We missed two points. It stinks. I think we’re all ticked off. It’s unacceptable. We’ve got to make a push and start climbing (in the standings) especially against a team like that. We could have taken those two points.”
The loss left the Blues with a 5-5-1 record at home. They have played only four road games in the first six weeks of the season, heading into a three-game trip that begins Wednesday night in Chicago.
“Everybody’s sick of losing,” said Yeo, whose team is now 6-6-3 for the season. “It’s just a matter of doing what it takes to win hockey games. … We just gave up a big chance at the wrong time. We’ve got to win games. This was a winnable game. It was there for us and we didn’t find a way to win it, we found a way to lose the game.
“At a certain point we can’t just keep saying we are getting closer, we’re getting better. At a certain point we’ve got to find a way to win these games that are there for you. Obviously we found a way not to. We’ve got to be better.”
Audio by Mike Reeves: