Blues not looking back

The St. Louis Blues are well aware that their success in the regular season the past few years has not translated into success in the postseason, but they aren’t interested in looking back.

Especially veteran forward Alexander Steen.

“We’re not comparing anything to any other previous years — let’s just focus on what we’re doing right now,” Steen said following the Blues’ 4-2 win over the Minnesota Wild in the regular season finale on Saturday. “The one thing I will say about previous years is we take it as experience and move forward, but we don’t sit and analyze last year and two years ago compared to this. We’re just having a good vibe right now; goaltending has been great, our D have been extremely quick and patient with the puck.”

Asked a follow-up question a few minutes later on the topic, the Blues’ high-scoring left winger reiterated his opinion on not looking back.

“I don’t care about last year to be honest with you, or the year before that or the year before that,” Steen said. “You take the experience from it … and you move on. But this is a different team, different vibe, different scenario. Everything’s different. I think media likes to look at it and compare and analyze and all that stuff and you guys are more than welcomed to, but it doesn’t matter.”

Steen’s right, of course, but for a city and a fan base hungry for a playoff run it’s difficult to overlook that several seasons of success have been followed by playoff disappointments.

Since advancing to the Western Conference quarterfinals in 2012, the Blues have lost in the first round of the playoffs in back-to-back seasons against the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks — both times beginning the series with two wins only to lose four straight games and be eliminated.

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said earlier this week that he felt terrible for last year’s team.

"The evaluation on the players was really unfair because they were just so banged up,” he told reporters. “This is a fresher group, a healthier group — touch wood — to start, which is the thing I'm feeling good about. I'm excited to see them play, but for a team that played so well last year, to have that happen to them, I thought that was really unfair and I felt for the players at the end of the year.”

Late in the 2013-14 season, the Blues went from contending for the Presidents’ Trophy to losing their final six regular season games and finishing second in the Central Division with a 52-23-7 record and 111 points.

This time, the Blues surged over the final two weeks, even without leading scorers Vladimir Tarasenko and Alexander Steen in the lineup. St. Louis won five of its final six games to win the Central Division and finish at 51-24-7 and 109 points.

How this season’s success during the regular season translates into the postseason is yet to be determined, but the Blues are certainly focused on looking ahead and not back.

Related stories:

Blues-Wild By The Numbers

Blues will face Wild in first round

NHL Stanley Cup playoffs first-round schedule

You can follow Nate Latsch on Twitter at @NateLatsch or email him at natelatsch@gmail.com


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