At the Blues’ morning practice Saturday, head coach Ken Hitchcock playfully took exception to Nashville’s request that visiting clubs taking a roundabout route to their dressing room, to avoid walking past the Predators’ room. Hitchcock strung purple tape across the hallway separating the two sides. “(Nashville head coach Barry Trotz) thinks he’s the lion keeper, (saying) ‘You’ve got to go around here to go to our zoo,’” Hitchcock joked. The Blues kept the mood light Saturday, despite an abysmal start against Vancouver Friday night that led to an overtime loss to the Canucks. Back on the ice 24 hours later, the club needed a ferocious start against Nashville to reclaim the identity it had misplaced in back-to-back OT defeats. The lions broke out of their cage. Following their keeper, Alexander Steen, the Blues claimed their fourth straight victory in Nashville with a 6-1 victory over the Predators at Bridgestone Arena. “We came out a lot harder today, which I think is expected,” Steen said. “We’re back in the rhythm of things.” No one is on a rhythm like Steen. He scored his club-high ninth and 10th goals of the season Saturday, tying Washington’s Alex Ovechkin, who had 10 goals in 10 games. Steen has a goal in eight of the team’s nine games, and the Blues now have a similar streak with at least one point in eight of nine games this season. But as they returned home to prepare for Tuesday’s game against Winnipeg, the Blues were dealing with the loss of forwards Magnus Paajarvi and Chris Stewart. They each left the game with upper-body injuries. “Well, we’ll see how these guys are in the next couple of days,” Hitchcock said. “We’re going to need a further evaluation on this thing (Sunday) on both guys. But Paajarvi was playing great, that’s the tough part. And Stewy had a great game (Friday) and he was playing well again tonight.” So, the Blues won shorthanded Saturday, opening a 3-0 lead before Nashville’s Nick Spaling netted a shorthanded goal 52 seconds into the third period. But Steen answered with his second goal of the night and Derek Roy, playing in his 600th NHL game Saturday, piled on with his third goal of the season to help the Blues pull away for good.
Blues rebound from OT losses with strong start, big finish
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Oct 27