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Blues focus on peaking at the right time heading into playoffs

After winning, the word used most by the Blues right now is consistency
Credit: AP
St. Louis Blues' Marco Scandella (6) skates around Dallas Stars' Jamie Benn (14) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Bill Boyce)

ST. LOUIS — After five consecutive losses, the St. Louis Blues have won seven straight games.

Whether it’s a defensive improvement with Marco Scandella fitting in nicely, a growth in team confidence, or the benefit of having depth in a lineup, it’s working.

Scandella has been a strong defensive factor for the Blues in six of the seven games logging around 20 minutes of ice time per game. 

While he’s only tallied one point in those games, he’s been a strong complement to Colton Parayko.

In the month of February, Parayko has six goals and six points, which is triple the amount of goals he had scored up until that month.

Perhaps things just started clicking for him at the right time, or perhaps confidence has been the key to success.

Blues head coach Craig Berube said he’s seen confidence in Parayko ever since 26-year-old defenseman was put back on the power play. Not only did he start playing point on the unit, but he also experienced quick success.

While Parayko is skating the puck through all three zones and scoring overtime goals, Scandella is using his physical style of play to keep the puck out of the net. 

Over the course of roughly seven years in Minnesota, Scandella was used as a shutdown defenseman. He’s proved to be just that and more with impressive skating as well.

It’s a dynamic duo somewhat similar to the Parayko-Jay Bouwmeester combination that proved successful as a defensive pairing for nearly three years.

After winning, the word used most by the Blues right now is consistency. It’s important to be seated in a comfortable position heading into the playoffs with the goal of having home-ice advantage, but the Blues have made it clear they need to play consistently in order to peak at the right time heading into playoffs.

After a stretch of at least two weeks of games where younger players stepped up on a nightly basis to carry the team in goal scoring, there was a strong veteran presence on the ice Saturday.

Tyler Bozak, David Perron and Brayden Schenn were the goal scorers in regulation in the overtime victory against Dallas.

Depth is key. It’s what helps win games in the playoffs. There’s no team that’s won a Stanley Cup without it. But consistent hockey is only achieved by consistent performances from a team’s core group of players. 

On Saturday, the Blues saw this performance, and it won them a tough central division battle against a hungry Dallas team.

Perhaps the only concern on Saturday was the Blues allowing three goals. Granted, Blues goaltender Jake Allen didn’t have a chance on two of the three goals scored. But the game shouldn’t have gone into overtime in the first place.

There were many missed chances at the net that should’ve been capitalized on. But like every player said, a win is a win at this point.

RELATED: Even as they win seventh in a row, 4-3 over Dallas in a shootout, Blues can't gain separation in Central

The Blues picked up two points which put them three points ahead of Colorado to lead both the central division and western conference. St. Louis sits at second in the NHL only trailing Boston by six points. The key now? To peak at the right time.

It's no secret that playoff hockey is a completely different animal from the regular season. Any team could win on any given night. 

Take last year, for example, when the Carolina Hurricanes barely snatched a wildcard spot before sweeping Tampa Bay, the best team in hockey for the majority of the regular season.

The Blues are banking on playing consistent hockey to peak at the right time. They do that by winning, staying healthy the best they can, and continuously finding ways to score.

On Tuesday the Blues head out back on the road to face the New York Rangers.

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