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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

I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.

— Brian Elliott to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch on being the Blues' No. 1 goalie