The Blues dealt with adverse situations for throughout the 2016-17 regular-season, most notably the firing of coach Ken Hitchcock when the Blues were laboring with a 24-21-5 record. At the time and sitting in ninth place in the Western Conference.
The Blues have normally dealt with those challenging times head-on and come out better for them.
After Hitchcock was fired and Mike Yeo took over on Feb. 1, the Blues promptly won seven of their next eight, thrust themselves back into the Stanley Cup Playoff picture before finishing 22-8-2 under Yeo.
So to say the Blues are in a dire predicament heading into Game 4 of the Western Conference Second Round series against the Nashville Predators (8:30 p.m.; NBCSN, KYKY 98.1-FM) trailing the best-of-7 series 2-1, it's not a complete feeling of being backed into a corner, but the Predators, 6-1 in the playoffs, are working hard at trying to put St. Louis on the brink of elimination with a win in Game 4.
The Blues will attack it like they have all season long.
"Another game. We can't change our mentality," Blues goaltender Jake Allen said. "We've been preaching the same mentality since the coaching change has been made, and it's working for us. Obviously we know the situation. We're realists as well, but I think we just approach it the same way and we definitely need a better game.
"... We've had some ups and downs, a lot of adversity this year. When times were real tough, we struggled a bit, but we found a way to roll. Same sort of thing in Minnesota series. We found ways to win games. I think that's just what we've got to do tomorrow. It doesn't matter if it's a 1-0 or an 8-7 game, we've just got to find a way to win and head back to St. Louis on a positive note and look forward to playing in our own barn.
The Blues won seven of Yeo's first eight games as coach by adapting to and embracing change, snd doing it in a team-mentality mindset.
The Blues would lose five in a row (0-4-1) after starting 7-1 under Yeo, but instead of continuing to slide, they won 3-0 at the Colorado Avalanche on March 5. That win started a run of 12-2-1 in road games where they outscored the opponent 43-24
"We got a character group, and we still have a lot of belief on our side," Yeo said. "There’s no reason to think why we wouldn’t. We knew right from the start that we’re playing a real good hockey team. We saw what they did in round one, so I don't think that anyone inside of our locker room was kidding ourselves that we were just going to march through this series without facing some challenges. The thing about challenges is what good teams do, and that is they respond to them and that’s what I’m expecting from our group."
The Blues have only won one playoff series out of four when trailing it 2-1, win Game 4 on the road and are able to come back and win. Most recently, they lost to the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Final and to the Minnesota Wild in the Western first round in 2015, both in six games. They'll look to give it another shot starting Wednesday with the proper response, much like they have all season long.
"We’ve tried to," Blues center Paul Stastny said. "We’ve tried to be as consistent as possible whether we have a bad game or we lose a bad couple of games, I think our focus is to kind of fix those mistakes and get ready for the next challenge. Playoff time, any time you lose a game, it really wakes you up to know you’ve got to give a lot more for the next game. That’s our mentality. We know they’re going to be doing the same thing thinking they could be up 3-1. But for our mindset we’re not even thinking about them. We have to worry about what we do."
Penalties hurt St. Louis much like By LOU KORAC NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Blues entered Sunday's pivotal Game 3 of the Western Conference Second Round series with the Nashville Predators feeling good about themselves despite surrendering home ice advantage.
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