By Rob Rains
The Blues reached the halfway point in the season Tuesday night in what has become an all-too-familiar fashion.
Jake Allen allowed three goals on Dallas’ first 11 shots and the Blues could not climb out of the hole in a 3-1 loss to the Stars at Enterprise Center, continuing their string of disappointing performances at home.
The loss left the Blues with a 17-20-4 record at the halfway point, including a 10-13-2 record on home ice, where they have lost four of their last five games and five of the last seven.
Of all the problems the team has had this year in trying to escape the bottom of the NHL standings, that stands out as the biggest issue to interim coach Craig Berube.
“It’s a common theme here at home,” Berube said. “We get results better on the road then we do at home. I don’t know that we play a whole lot better. I go back to the last five games at home, we’ve played pretty well but obviously it’s a results business.
“We’ve got to do better at home, that’s the biggest thing for me. I think as a team we are playing a lot better. We’re playing good enough to win a lot of games but we find ways to lose games. That’s got to change and our home record has to change.”
The last two home losses, on Saturday night against the Islanders and Tuesday night, have seen Allen allow seven goals in a span of 19 shots. He did make a couple of good saves against the Stars after the game reached 3-1 but by then it was too late.
Allen’s performance has not been the Blues’ only problem. The team failed to score on two early power plays in the first period, then took two bad penalties at the start of the second period which gave the Stars a 5 on 3 advantage and they capitalized, opening a 2-0 lead.
Another goal made it 3-0 before David Perron scored for the Blues, generating a little bit of enthusiasm for the remainder of the second period.
Even though the Blues out-shot the Stars 12-2 in the third period they could not get the puck past St. Louis native Ben Bishop.
“I didn’t think we pushed hard enough,” Perron said. “We’ve got to put everything out there … it just felt like we should have pushed way more. It’s disappointing.”
Trying to explain why the team has struggled so much at home is wearing on the Blues.
“We haven’t come back in a game like that this year,” Perron said. “It’s so frustrating.”
Perhaps the good news for the Blues is their upcoming schedule. After Thursday night’s game against Montreal, the Blues have only one more game at Enterprise Center over the next month. They host Ottawa on Jan. 19 then don’t play at home again until Feb. 9, playing nine of 10 games between Saturday and Feb. 7 on the road, where they have gone 7-7-2 so far this season.
“It’s not the you want it to go,” defenseman Colton Parayko said of the team’s home performance. “It’s backwards, I think. Home ice is where you have to take advantage of those opportunities, the games you’ve got to win.”