A day after analyzing one of those games the Blues could have grabbed but didn't and resulted in a loss, coach Mike Yeo and players came to a similar conclusion.
"It was what we expected. It was on us last game," Yeo said after practice Friday, a day after the Blues fell for the first time on home ice, 2-0 to the Philadelphia Flyers. "They played well, they played hard, but there were things that were lacking in our game and we looked at some of those on video this morning and obviously we'll look to fix that heading into tomorrow."
The Blues (10-3-1), who wrap up a four-game homestand by hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs (8-6-0), outshot the Flyers 33-23 for the game, held a sizable territorial edge in the game but couldn't break through against Flyers goalie Michal Neuvirth, who made a number of quality saves, including three on former Flyers teammate Brayden Schenn and gave the Flyers a chance early when the Blues jumped out to a 10-1 shots edge in the game's first five minutes.
But as the game wore on, it was evident the Flyers were going to clog the middle of the ice, take away shooting lanes (they blocked 20 as a team, including 10 by second-year defenseman Ivan Provorov) and not give the Blues free access to the ice between the dots in the offensive zone.
"There's definitely things that could have been better," defenseman Joel Edmundson said. "I feel like we were too casual some parts of the game. We were flying past pucks, not really stopping and just going for a skate. We let them block too many shots; we've got to get more shots through, get more traffic in front of the goalie. But at the end of the day, I still think we played a decent game. A few bounces didn't go our way, but we know we still have better."
The Blues didn't play poorly by any stretch, but the lack of second and third opportunities seemed to be absent. And that's what had Yeo focused on in practice Friday at Scotrade Center.
"I think we can be more direct, whether it's off the rush or it's in the offensive zone," Yeo said. "We played against a team that looked to protect the middle of the ice. When you do that, obviously there's a little bit of open ice on the outside and I think that we were a little too willing to take it.
"(Preaching it is) something that we've been doing this year up until last game. That wasn't the only factor in the game. Obviously you have to be able to create offense in other ways and I felt there were parts in our game that were lacking and didn't allow us to get to our offensive game. When we're on top of our game, our execution, whether it's coming out of our own zone through the neutral zone, it's crisper, it's sharper, our puck support is better and we do a really good job of checking to create turnovers. I didn't think that any of those ingredients were there last night."
Allowing the Flyers to block 20 shots, that's too much. The Blues had ample opportunities; they attempted 68 shots to the Flyers' 39 for the game, almost a 2-to-1 ratio, but 35 of those attempts were either blocked or missed the net completely.
"Part of that problem was we were slow getting to the net-front, we were slow shooting pucks," Yeo said of the blocked shots. "When you do that, you allow more people to get into those lanes. I think that was the issue. I think we didn't have enough zone time. You can't just get the puck and shoot it into somebody's shin pads and then back-check for a shift. Sometimes you have to break teams down, spend a little time in the offensive zone and I felt that we were a little more one-and-done in the offensive zone last game.
"... We're going to play a desperate team tomorrow. We're going to have to come back to the rink with a real attitude, we're going to have to come back to the rink focused and prepared to play our game for 60 minutes. Obviously the other team has a say in it, and I've said it earlier, on a night to night basis in the NHL, not much separates you from the team that's across from you. You better be ready to be on top of your game."
* First-period dominance -- One area of the game the Blues haven't lacked in is the first 20 minutes of games.
After holding the Flyers scoreless Thursday, that makes four goals allowed in 14 games during the first period, which is among the league leaders in the early portion of the season.
Call it a mindset, call it the systems implemented by Yeo and his staff since they took over, but with the stinginess of the Blues' first period thus far, it'll gives them the opportunity on a game by game basis to grab the lead and try dictating play.
"We're a focused group in here right now," Edmundson said. "We know if we want to win, we have to dictate the game right off the bat. It just starts with getting the puck in and making their D turn. I think the forwards have been doing a good job of working the puck behind the net. When we do that, we get energy from that and we just keep on piling on. We've had some good starts this year.
"It's definitely a mindset, but it's also the system. We're playing a faster game right now. When we get pucks in, we've got our forwards going full speed at the puck. There's no one really standing around. Guys are being hard on their defense."
Defenseman Vince Dunn had another take for the successes.
"First off, we had a lot of road games," Dunn said of playing eight of the first 11 away from Scottrade Center. "Being prepared for those, you've got to have good starts. I think that kind of carries on throughout the game when you come out hard. I think that's just kind of been our focus all year, starting the game off right and kind of building off that wave after wave.
"We've got to be focused in the first period. I think that's when we're at our best. When we get up a goal in the first, maybe that carries on throughout the game. Just trying to be focused from that first drop of the puck. ... We want to come out hard and we want to dictate the play."
Despite the solid first period Thursday, however, it was one of those rare times it didn't translate into two points.
"Last night, we had a really good start, too," Yeo said. "That might have been a little bit of our problem that we didn't get rewarded for maybe the start and next thing you know, we kind of changed our game. But I think we have a good sense of what our best game looks like, what our game is and what our identity is and we look to get to that early and I think that's been a big factor there."
* Baby Hutton arrives, Husso returned to San Antonio -- Goalie Carter Hutton can now focus on hockey; his son finally arrived.
Palmer Hutton was born on Thursday afternoon after much waiting.
Hutton, who missed last Saturday's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets and Thursday night's game that enabled the Blues to recall Ville Husso from San Antonio of the American Hockey League to back up Jake Allen, was back at practice Friday relieved of stress and happy to have a healthy family.
"Glad to be back, getting a sweat in this morning and ready to be back," Hutton said. "It's something a lot bigger than hockey. It's one of those things and we're excited to grow our family. It's going to be a little American baby so we'll get some dual citizenship and things will be good.
"With the unknown, you're leaving home all the time and wondering when you're going to get the call, what's going to happen. Now it's nice to know it's done. Everyone's healthy and get back to work here. You're a professional."
As for the name Palmer?
"It's the name we liked, the name we landed on and everybody's healthy and good and everybody's excited," Hutton said.
With Hutton's return to the Blues, Husso was reassigned back to the Rampage and started in goal against the Iowa Wild on Friday night.