Blues Limp Into Playoffs Riding Six-Game Losing Streak
ST. LOUIS - April has not been kind to the St. Louis Blues. The team will enter the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Thursday riding a season worst six-game losing streak.
During the streak the Blues saw themselves fall out of the President's Trophy race (awarded to the team with the best record in the NHL), lost their grasp on the top seed in the Western Conference and also let the Colorado Avalanche sneak in to capture the Central Division title.
The Blues' prize for stumbling down the home stretch of the regular season is a first round playoff date with the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Chicago Blackhawks. St. Louis won the first three regular season match ups against their Midwest rivals, but dropped the final two games of the series, getting outscored by a combined 8-2 goal differential.
However, the team from the Gateway City shouldn't literally be singing the blues just yet.
Since the blockbuster trade with the Buffalo Sabres in which the Blues acquired goaltender Ryan Miller, St. Louis is 13-9-1. While that number may seem very pedestrian, if you take away the last two weeks when the injury bug started to catch up with the team, Miller's addition has been overwhelmingly positive.
Speaking of that injury bug, it is expected that the team should be fairly healthy again come time for the first game against the Blackhawks.
During that six-game slide at the end of the year the Blues were without (for various amounts of time) forwards David Backes, T.J. Oshie, Vladimir Tarasenko, Patrik Berglund, Vladimir Sobotka, and Brenden Morrow, as well as defensemen Alex Pietrangelo and Barrett Jackman. All of those injured except for Captain David Backes returned for the team's optional skate Tuesday according to the Blues' team website.
While the last few weeks of the regular season were anything but pleasant for the Blues and their fans, this team was built with one thing on its mind - a Stanley Cup Championship. Fortunately for St. Louis, championships are not won and lost by regular season standings. The team can still avoid a late-season collapse that St. Louisans are all too familiar with, and bring home the first Stanley Cup in the franchise's 47 year history.
The Blues' series against the Blackhawks begins Thursday, April 17 at 7 p.m.