The Minnesota Wild are heading into the All-Star break in first place in the Western Conference, and the St. Louis Blues appear to be heading in the other direction. The Blues lost 5-1 on Thursday night at their division rival and head into the All-Star break three points behind Nashville for the third and final guaranteed playoff spot in the Central Division.
Vladimir Tarasenko scored his 21st goal for the Blues, who lost for the fourth time in five games. Carter Hutton stopped 25 of 30 shots before being pulled early in the third period.
“We just don’t seem to handle the good stuff very well,” said Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, following this poor performance after a shutout in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night. “To come back and play the way we did today is disappointing. It’s too much of a recurring theme here.”
The Blues own a one-point lead over two teams in the Western Conference for the final Wild Card playoff position. There are just 33 regular season games remaining on the schedule.
“We’ve got a couple days to really look in the mirror,” Blues Captain Alex Pietrangelo said. “We’re going to have to because we play a lot of hockey in the second half and we can’t afford situations like this.”
Tarasenko will represent the Blues at Sunday’s NHL All-Star Game in Los Angeles. Players are split up into four teams by division in a three-on-three tournament. It’s Tarasenko’s third straight All-Star selection. He has 21 goals and 26 assists this season.