ST. LOUIS -- T.J. Oshie didn't shy away from the attention after Game 4.
The St. Louis Blues forward was critical of himself following his team's 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference Quarterfinals, calling it embarrassing despite scoring the first two Stanley Cup Playoff goals of his career.
"I think we started trying to make some cute plays at the blue line," Oshie said. "I'll speak for my line when I say we were good at times and we were terrible at other times. I could have single-handedly prevented three of their goals. I'm probably to blame for those three.
"Being on the ice for all four of the other team's goals is pretty embarrassing."
With Game 5 slated for Wednesday (9 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, CNBC, CBC), look for the trio to have a chip on their shoulders with the best-of-7 series all squared at 2-2.
"We've got to step up our play," Oshie said after the team's morning skate Wednesday. "It wasn't like we had a bad entire game. I think it was four major instances where our reloads weren't right, we were maybe a little aggressive, our routes weren't right. On one, I had a bad stick.
"It's little things, but I think it's just those little things that win you playoff games. It's the little things that [the Kings are] doing right now, and that's why they got the last two wins against us."
It would have been natural for Blues coach Ken Hitchcock to break up the unit known as "The Kid Line." But Hitchcock will keep the glue that has upped the play of a line that was strong for three games. Oshie is the player he believes elevates everyone else's play.
"He's our conscience," Hitchcock said of Oshie. "He's the guy that sets the standard of performance. He's disturbed and disappointed that they were on the ice for goals-against, odd-man rushes against. He was disappointed by that. I think he knew at the end of the game that when we had the 2-0 lead, we started trying to apply the knockout punch and got caught.
"We've done that a little bit this year and that's just the maturing process of a young team trying to learn how to win against a really good team. I thought that's the one thing we're guilty of. We tried to hit the knockout punch way too early and got caught pushing down, gave up odd-man rushes and let them back in the game. When you give up odd-man rushes on the road, they usually end up in your net. We were just way too aggressive in trying to keep pucks in and that's where I think [Oshie] is disappointed, that they got swept up in the emotion of the game. We gave up the wrong chances to the wrong people."
Despite scoring his first two playoff goals, Oshie -- along with Berglund and Perron -- each finished minus-3 in the game, but Hitchcock said he believes the unit will bounce back.
"I think for us, wherever we put [Oshie], that line plays the right way," Hitchcock said. "When it doesn't, he grabs it right away and gets it to play the right way. That's why Berglund's line, they were terrific in Game 2 and 3, and it wouldn't surprise me if they were good again [in Game 5].
"They had a subpar effort [in Game 4]. They know it, and they'll jump back."
|Back to top|