Audio from Ken Hitchcock
For the second time in their last four playoff games, the Blues let a 2 goal lead fall by the wayside, while almost falling behind 2-0 in the best of seven series with the Stars. Without the heroics of David Backes on Sunday afternoon, that two game deficit might be a reality right now. The “worst lead in hockey” tag gets thrown out a lot, seemingly every game. But for the Blues, it seems to carry some weight.
“It’s a natural tendency that players get into. They don’t want to get caught,” coach Ken Hitchcock said Monday, when describing how his hockey team tends to “play to the score.”
“They think in terms of protecting and not attacking,” explained Hitchcock.
It’s not a culture unique to only the Blues, but the level of the Blues’ play on the ice undeniably changed during Sunday’s third period, and “protecting and not attacking” seemed to be the order of the day.
“We recognize it, and hopefully when we get another chance to have that we do it a little bit different.”
Hitchcock thought the optics of the third period might have looked a lot worse than it actually was. And to the Blues credit, they survived not only the Stars’ onslaught in the third period, but for much of the overtime as well.
“We are at our best when we are on the attack, we are at our best when are in their zone,” described Alex Pietrangelo. “We addressed it today, and can’t let it happen again.”
Hopefully, there are plenty more “worst leads in hockey” for the Blues moving forward. And if Pietrangelo is right in his assessment from today, hopefully the Blues are closing out those leads moving forward.