Where to start?
The Blues fell 4-2 to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night, extending their losing streak to a season-high four games.
Goaltender Ryan Miller was chased after allowing four goals on 13 shots.
And already playing without captain David Backes due to injury, the Blues lost T.J. Oshie after a vicious head shot by the Wild’s Mike Rupp.
There was more bad news for them later in the night when Colorado won in Vancouver, 4-2. The Avalanche tied the Blues with 111 points, but the Avs jumped into first place in the Central Division because they have the first tie-breaker with 47 regulation/overtime victories compared to 43.
A desperate stretch became even more desperate after the end of the Blues’ nine-game winning streak against the Wild, who won with a 30-year-old goaltender who had only four NHL games on his résumé.
John Curry made 43 saves for his third-career win, limiting the Blues to two goals or fewer for the 10th time in their last 12 games. They outshot Minnesota 45-15, surrendering a season-low in shots against.
“The last two games, we’re playing really hard but I don’t know that we’re playing smart,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “We are playing very hard, competing at a high level and we’ve got to keep building it forward. We’re not playing as smart offensively as we did before, which gave us some of the goals. If you look, a lot of the rebounds he gave were right in the slot and we were too tight” to convert.
Curry was exceptional from the start of the game, when the Blues outshot Minnesota 17-5 in the first period. The Wild came out of the period with a 1-0 lead, on a goal by Nino Niederreiter — who deflected a shot by Jonathon Blum past Miller.
The second period was as important as the Blues have played recently. They would tie the score, but it came with a steep price.
A delayed penalty on Minnesota was coming with 10 minutes remaining in the period. Oshie was cycling the puck when he was caught completely off guard by Rupp, who delivered a nasty shoulder shot to the head, sending the Blues winger to the ice for several minutes.
Oshie had trouble standing before finally heading to the locker room for observation. Rupp left the game, too, with a match penalty and a five-minute major for intent to injure.
“It’s tough,” Blues forward Jaden Schwartz said. “Obviously we didn’t like the hit. He’s an important player to our team. At this time of the year, you don’t want to see injuries like that. You just hope that he’s ready to go soon and he’s feeling better.”
Hitchcock predictably labeled Oshie’s availability as day to day.
“Certainly a tough hit to take right now,” he said.
Rupp has a phone hearing this afternoon with the NHL's Player Safety Department, according to TSN's Bob McKenzie.
The delayed penalty — a high-sticking call on Marco Scandella — and Rupp’s major put the Blues on a five-on-three power play for two minutes.
Kevin Shattenkirk evened the score, 1-1, with his 10th goal of the season and it marked the first goal by a Blues’ defenseman in the last 15 games.
Where to start?