ST. LOUIS- The Blues felt good about their play prior to the All-Star break and want to continue in that trend when they come out of it and play the finale of a four-game homestand Tuesday against the Montreal Canadiens (7 p.m.; FS-MW, KMOX 1120-AM).
The Blues are 4-1-0 the past five games and 7-3-1 the past 11 games, putting them right in the thick of the heated race in the Central Division, three points behind first-place Winnipeg and two behind second-place Nashville.
"That's important here that we have that mindset," Blues coach Mike Yeo said. "I've said this a lot last year and going forward here, the goal is to make the playoffs, but the goal is to go into the playoffs feeling good about your game. The only way you do that is to make sure night after night, you come to the rink and you try and find ways to get better and you're pushing yourself and each other.
"We've got to come here tonight, we've won four out of five heading into that All-Star break and I think it's important tonight that we assume that that momentum is just going to carry over. We have to come out here tonight and play a real strong, hard game and then obviously when you do those things, you get the results you want more often than not."
And where does Yeo think his team's game is at?
"I think we like our group and I think that for the most part, we like our game. We went through a bit of a stretch where we had a couple games where we didn't like, but for the most part, we're a team that's tough to play against and we give ourselves a chance night after night. There's some areas that we want to keep building on, but we like where we're at right now."
So do the Blues (30-18-3), but they understand there's more that needs to be done.
"The last five games with obviously the exception of the Arizona game, I think as a group, we feel like as a group, we're starting to build it back up to where we know it's capable of getting to," center Kyle Brodziak said. "There's still things we want to work on and improve every day, but I think overall, there's a good feeling that our game's starting to come back. When that's the case, we know and I think we're pretty confident here as a group that we'll get a lot of wins if that's the case."
The Blues will want to take advantage of the Canadiens (20-23-6), who have just two wins (2-3-2) the past seven games and are 10 points out of a wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference.
"If we continue to win and continue to play the way that we can, that'll take care of itself," defenseman Colton Parayko said.
The Blues are 4-for-9 on the power play the past three games, scoring twice in two of those games, including two in their last game, a 3-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche.
What's been the biggest difference for a group that moved up from 29th in the NHL to 25th currently?
"I think part of it is the play of 'Dunner' [Vince Dunn] back there," Yeo said. "He's taking advantage of that opportunity and then when you put 'Petro' [Alex Pietrangelo] and 'Pary' on that second unit, obviously I think that makes them more dangerous, too.
"The puck recoveries for me has been the biggest part. They're working to get pucks back. Obviously when you have possession of the puck in the offensive zone, that's when you have your opportunities to create and that's what we've been doing the last couple games."