The St. Louis Blues thrived when faced with adversity during the regular season -- despite a host of injuries, they rallied from last place in the West in mid-February to make the playoffs. They'll have to overcome more adversity to overtake the Vancouver Canucks in the opening round of the playoffs.
St. Louis trails Vancouver 2-0 in its Western Conference Quarterfinal series. The Blues are hoping for a boost from their home fans when the series shifts to the Scottrade Center for Game 3 on Sunday.
There was a somber tone in the Blues’ locker room following Friday night's 3-0 loss in Game 2 -- and for good reason. For the second straight game, the Blues went toe-to-toe with the Canucks but couldn't generate any offense.
It didn’t help that Roberto Luongo seemed to be everywhere, stopping all 30 St. Louis shots for his first career playoff shutout. But the Blues insisted that while Luongo has been brilliant in allowing just one goal in two games, their own poor offensive play has made him look better than he is.
To rectify that the Blues are hoping to emulate Vancouver’s second goal of Game 2, a grimy score that had Alex Burrows collect the puck behind the St. Louis net before jamming a wraparound past Chris Mason.
"Those are the kind of goals that win Stanley Cups," said David Backes, who has been stopped on eight shots in two games.
Too often, the Blues have been lackadaisical getting pucks on net, with a lot of shots being delivered from in and around the blue line. That needs to change in a hurry to avoid falling into a 3-0 hole.
"We've only got one goal in two games, so we've got to find a way to get pucks behind him and we’ve got to do whatever it takes to get it there,” forward B.J. Crombeen said. "Luongo’s seeing the puck too much, and we’re not making it hard enough on him."
The Blues figure to get plenty of support from sellout crowds when they come home for their first playoff games in St. Louis since 2004.
"We don’t think we’re out of this series at all," Crombeen said. "It’s 2-0, but we’re going home, we know we haven’t played our best yet and we feel confident that we can get rolling here at home, get a couple of wins and see where this goes."
Historically the numbers suggest that rallying to win the series won't be easy. Since entering the NHL in 1967, the Blues have won only one playoff series after trailing 2-0 -- they beat Minnesota in 1972. But if the ruckus at the end of Game 2 is any indication, the Blues have no intention of going quietly.
"They’re trying to take something from us that we really want and we’re trying to take something from them that they really want," Backes said. "It’s going to be that way until we’re shaking hands at the end -- and hopefully we have smiles on our faces."