Back-to-back losses to the last-place team in the Western Conference and potentially backing into a playoff berth would not have been an ideal way to stumble into the postseason. Avoiding that scenario, the Blues clinched a spot in the playoffs with a 3-1 victory over Colorado Tuesday night at Scottrade Center. But with goals from three forwards, including two on the power play, the Blues did more than accept a postseason ticket. “We grabbed it big time today,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “We played a great hockey game. We could have scored 10 goals today. We played a hard, heavy hockey game. “This is the response you want to go in the front door with. You don’t want to be going sideways and waiting for teams to lose. We went in the front door today, which is a real good feeling for the players.” The Blues needed only a point to clinch a playoff berth, but they picked up two with their fourth consecutive home win and their 10th victory overall in their last 13 games. “We’ve had a pretty good run here to get where we needed to get, a spot clinched, but the higher you can climb in the standings to try and get a little home ice at some point, those things definitely matter,” Blues captain David Backes said. “How we’re playing is the most important thing. We can’t just rest and think these last two games are for naught. They mean a lot.” The Blues are back on the ice Thursday against Calgary before wrapping up the regular season Saturday versus Chicago. With 56 points, they jumped over San Jose (55 points) into the No. 5 spot in the West, but the Sharks were still in action late Tuesday night. With L.A.’s 2-1 loss to Minnesota, the Blues were guaranteed to end the night one point out of the No. 4 spot, which awards home-ice advantage in the first round of the postseason. The standings will sort themselves out over the final two games of the regular season, but the Blues now know they’ll be making their second straight trip to the playoffs, marking the first time they’ve advanced to the postseason in back-to-back years since 2003 and 2004. The club had a chance to sew up an invitation Sunday in Colorado, but a few costly turnovers led to a 5-3 loss to the Avalanche, postponing the celebration. On Tuesday, the Blues were back on top of their game. The Avs led the Blues 6-2 in shots early in the game, but the Blues finished the game outshooting the visitors 34-18. An offensive-starved club netted three goals for the second straight game, and for the first time since mid-February, the power play chipped in two goals in one game. Chris Stewart and Patrik Berglund accounted for the pair, deflecting point shots by Jordan Leopold and Jay Bouwmeester, respectively.
Blues punch their ticket to playoffs with 3-1 win over Avs
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Apr 24