St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock described his team’s play on Wednesday night as the best they’ve played in some time. The problem was it wasn’t good enough to reverse the Blues’ recent downward trend.
St. Louis coughed up a two-goal lead, again, allowed another late third-period goal and then lost in overtime, 4-3, to the host Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
“There was a lot of good play again, but it’s not being rewarded with goals,” Hitchcock told reporters. “We’re not closing off games. We’re going through that phase where we’ve got to show more composure and close off games.”
The Blues (23-14-6, 52 points), who began a three-game road trip, fell to 0-2-2 over their last four games and 1-3-2 over their last six. Wednesday’s loss was their second straight in overtime.
“You’ve got a one-goal or two-goal lead on the road, that’s time to batten down the hatches,” Blues captain David Backes told reporters. “We seemed to take care of the puck less and feed their offense. Don’t make any mistake, they have plenty of firepower to make us pay and they certainly did.”
The Avalanche (20-18-3, 43 points) led 1-0 on an early goal by Matt Duchene, but the Blues answered by scoring three goals.
Vladimir Tarasenko scored his 24th and Backes his 11th, on the power play, late in the first period. Then Patrik Berglund tallied his first of the season just 50 seconds into the second period to give the visitors a 3-1 advantage.
Mikhail Grigorenko cut the deficit to 3-2 for the hosts with a goal at the 6:32 mark of the second period.
The Avalanche tied the score with 1:29 remaining in the third period on Nathan MacKinnon’s 14th of the season. Colorado earned the two points with Gabriel Landeskog’s game-winner with 17 seconds left in the overtime session.
“I just kind of think we let them in the game,” Berglund told reporters. “We started off good in the first period, we did forecheck, had a lot of pressure on them and got the lead again and I think we just kind of backed off and here they come full speed.”
The Blues conclude their three-game road trip with games on Friday night against the Anaheim Ducks (16-16-7, 39 points) and Saturday night against the Los Angeles Kings (25-12-2, 52 points).