ST. LOUIS -- It's been quite a run since Mike Yeo took over as coach of the Blues on Feb. 1.
The Blues are allowing 1.73 goals per game in 15 games since Yeo took over, winning nine of them.
Throw in the fact that three of them were empty-netters and one was of the fluke variety against Minnesota Tuesday with 11 seconds remaining, the numbers could be a lot stingier.
The goals-against is tops on the NHL as is the save percentage for Jake Allen and Carter Hutton, which is .951 as a unit.
"We're playing a little tighter in the middle of the D-zone," Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo said. "I think we're taking care of the front of the net a little better. We're playing tighter as a five-man unit. We're still not giving up big opportunities. Shot totals may be up a bit, but the chances aren't the quality they were before.
Blues keeping pucks out of their net at league-best pace; Yeo had thoughts elsewhere; Schmaltz debut; increased shot volume By LOU KORAC ST. LOUIS -- It's been quite a run since Mike Yeo took over as coach of the Blues on Feb. 1.
"If we're giving up shots from the outside on the rush or point shots with no one in front, we're not OK with it, but it's better than giving up what we gave up before, which was less shots but the chances were much higher. Jake will make the first save, and then it's on us to kind of clear away and make sure there's no second opportunity."
Allen and Hutton are making the saves they're supposed to make, and the skaters in front of them are eliminating the high-percentage looks teams were getting earlier in the season.
"The high quality and second chances has obviously been a big emphasis on us defensemen to clear the front of the net and not let those guys get those sticks in there," Pietrangelo said. "If Jake and 'Hutts' don't handle the shot, that leaves the second opportunity."
Hutton has a .989 save-percentage and Jake Allen is at .941. The Blues were dead-last in the league (.879) when the coaching change, which included goalie coach Jim Corsi, was made.
"Both goalies, 'Hutts' and Jake, have both been outstanding," Yeo said. "I look at last game for Jake, one of the things that impressed me most is I thought we defended well. Minnesota did a good job. They played smart in terms of trying to throw as many pucks to the net as possible and trying to create offense off that. Our 'D' did an outstanding job of tying guys up and letting him see pucks, but more importantly, Jake controlled every one of those rebounds. Jake just made easy, routine saves that if he wasn't on his game, it would have made for some chaotic situations."
Yeo said he hasn't paid attention to where the numbers are.
"We're trying not to look at everything as a whole right now," Yeo said. "Just for me, there's two areas of focus. It's our last game, it's what we did well and what we want to repeat. And the second (and) obviously the most important is we've got to have that translate to a home game now. Even the last home game that we won against Vancouver, it wasn't a particularly strong game. I think part of that is just recognizing that it's going to be a very hard game.
"Everybody's dialed things up. Home ice, the energy of the crowd, that's still relative but teams at this point of the season, they're used to dealing with that and teams are not going to get pushed out of games because games are too important. We've got to be ready to play -- as cliche as it is -- a full 60 minutes and we have to make sure that we're doing all the little things."
* Anxious dad -- Yeo was quick to do his post practice interview, going in front of the players on Thursday with good reason.
Yeo was on his way home to stream the Minnesota AA high school state hockey championship tournament, where son Kyler was participating at Xcel Energy Center, home of the Minnesota Wild.
Kyler, a senior at Hill-Murray High School, faced Moorhead at 1 p.m. Friday. Mike Yeo headed home to stream the game.
"I'm just a nervous dad," Yeo said. "The scouting report we're working on is obviously for our game tomorrow (against the Anaheim Ducks), but there will be some tense moments this afternoon I'm sure."
Those tense moments turned sad unfortunately as Morehead defeated Hill-Murray 4-2.
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