ST. LOUIS - As the St. Louis Blues face another early end to their Stanley Cup playoff hopes, history is repeating itself.
Last year’s Blues team opened the playoffs with home-ice wins before losing in six games to the Los Angeles Kings.
This year’s Blues won the first two outings of their best-of-seven series against the Chicago Blackhawks, but are now facing a Game 6 elimination.
“We have a chance to write our own legacy,” Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock said Saturday before his team headed to Chicago for Sunday afternoon’s potential elimination tilt. “Everybody is probably writing, ‘Here they go again. They’re challenging the top teams, but can they get through the top teams?’ Everybody is going to write that stuff, but we have a chance to write the message that you guys have to print, so it’s in our control. It’s not in ‘what’s going to get printed’ control, it’s in our control.
“And I want to see us embrace this. Yeah, we’re knocking on the door and we’re knocking hard but we’ve got to push through. Just can’t keep pushing up against the wall. We’ve got a real opportunity to push through the wall here. I want to see our players take advantage of this. I really want to see us play a hell of a hockey game. I want to see us really, really go at this thing and like I said, I want to see us with a little more composure in the right areas. I think we’re going to eliminate some of their scoring chances because of it and maybe even get a few more ourselves.”
A case could be made both teams deserved to win all five games so far, four of which required overtime.
However, the Blues are well aware they need a special performance to bring the series home for a Game 7 clash on Tuesday.
“It seems like whatever you can do to win a game in playoffs, you’ve got to do a little more than that,” Blues winger T.J. Oshie said. “Whether it be guys step back and maybe try a little bit less because we’re really focused on getting a lot of energy, getting a lot of hits. Maybe we need to step back a little bit and just calm down and play within ourselves and within our system.
“If it seems like they’re getting rid of the puck a little bit, they can have have a little bit more confidence themselves to hold onto it and make the right play. It’s tough. It’s a tough time right now, but we don’t feel like we’re going to be coming home tomorrow and getting the golf clubs out either. We’re confident that we’re going to go in tomorrow and get the win and bring this thing back to St. Louis.”
In the breach most is Blues goalie Ryan Miller, who was acquired at the trade deadline to be a difference maker.
“We’re probably gonna have to steal a game to bring this thing back, so he’s gonna have to be part of the steal,” Hitchcock said. “He’s gonna have to be one of the robbers. He’s gonna have to be a big player for us. We know that, he knows that.”
On Twitter: @SunRandySportak