Yes, the Blues lead their best-of-7 Western Conference First Round series against the Minnesota Wild. Yes, Jake Allen was more than outstanding, and it's a good omen that goaltending has started off in top form.
But despite getting the 2-1 overtime win on the road in Game 1, the Blues understand that in order to get the necessary results moving forward they have to be better, starting with Game 2 slated for Friday at 7 p.m. (FS-MW, KYKY 98.1-FM)
"Yeah, I think we'll be the first to admit we can play better," Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo said. "We'll have a discussion in here about what we can change in terms of limiting their shots. Fifty shots is a lot to give up, I know. It went into overtime, but they seemed like they wanted to be aggressive. We can be more aggressive as well."
"For sure, we need to be way better," said forward Vladimir Sobotka, who opened the scoring and gave the Blues a 1-0 lead. "I think we all know that. We just need to take it another step and be better in the next game."
"A lot more," added right wing David Perron. "I don't know how much better they can get but that was a pretty solid game by them. We know we need to make adjustments and get better.
"... Just personal feeling, play more in the O-zone. Our line had a lot of defensive zone things to take care of, but if we can provide more offense, and have maybe more poise thoughout the neutral zone to get in there and get more zone time."
The Blues, who got a scintillating performance from Allen, who made a career-best 51 saves and the most saves against the Wild in Stanley Cup Playoff history, was on the wrong end of shots on goal (52-26) and faceoff percentage (41 percent) that led to a large territorial edge in puck possession and offensive zone ice time.
With many of the regulars, except for center Jori Lehtera, not taking the ice Thursday afternoon, it was on the coaching staff to provide the teaching tutorials with video sessions.
There was no work on the ice, so video it was.
"We talked about a couple things, we look at a couple things on video this morning," Blues coach Mike Yeo said. "We'll watch some more things in video. It's a good team, so we're not surprised. When you have a game where you don't feel like you're at your best and you come away with the win, that's a pretty good feeling. But that said, we know it's going to be a tough challenge [Friday]. Our focus is going to be continuing every game. We'll look at what we did right, we'll look at what we did not well enough and we find a way to get a little bit better and that's what we're on right now."
The Blues simply can't continue to start plays by chasing the puck, they have to do a better job of dealing with the Wild's forecheck that leads to transitioning pucks out of the defensive zone and through the neutral zone, and they need more sustained offensive zone time.
The numbers Wednesday defied the end result, and the Blues know they can be better in a number of areas, and if they can improve their overall play, they can be more of a factor in this series.
"They're throwing pucks, a lot of pucks at the net from all angles," Pietrangelo said of the Wild. "Obviously harder to react when you're the defending team and that situation happens. I think we just need to be a little more aggressive.
"You're going to need to win those games. I feel like we've been on the wrong side of those a lot throughout the years. Jake was unbelievable; I think everybody knows that. Get away with a win there. I thought we played well through spurts. I feel like we need to be better."