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At the Rink blog

Blues downplay facing Tampa Bay's 1-3-1

Saturday, 11.12.2011 / 2:31 PM

By Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

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At the Rink blog
Blues downplay facing Tampa Bay's 1-3-1
ST. LOUIS – Philadelphia’s response to Tampa Bay’s defensive formation created plenty of reaction around the NHL, and now it's up to the St. Louis Blues to dissect the Lightning's 1-3-1.

The Blues and Lightning will play here Saturday night, and the game also marks the return of former Blues captain Eric Brewer.

According to the Blues, there's no big storylines when it comes to their matchup.

"I think you make too much of that," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "They play with structures, so how do you counteract the structures? It's like any team. If you allow a team to set up in their structure, they're going to beat you. It doesn't matter if it's 1-3-1, 1-2-2, 2-1-2 ... doesn't matter, they're going to beat you. So you have to attack the structure before they set up.

"It's like any fore-checking system. It's the same thing as an offensive zone fore-check system. You've got to find a way to get by it before it sets its course. So for us, it's about not allowing them to control the tempo of the game. I think the other thing is it's easy to set up in a defensive structure when you've got the lead all the time. So for us, it's get the lead and force the other team to have to open things up a little bit more."

Blues players saw portions of the game or on highlights from Wednesday night and don't think it's that big of a deal.

"It was just a matter of Philly being stubborn," wing Matt D'Agostini said. "I think they were just trying to fluster Tampa, try to get them to come after them a little more than they obviously do. … They play with a D-man back there, so as long as we get good dumps, we can go in and hit their D and like last night, play in their end as much as we can."
Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres