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Blues Expect Big Push from Wild in Game 5

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues

ST. LOUIS - What a difference one game makes.

Down 2-1 in the series and coming off an uncharacteristic performance, the Blues exploded for six goals and dominated every aspect of Game 4 against the Wild. With the series even, the Blues have regained home-ice advantage in what is now a best-of-3 series.

“That’s exactly what we wanted to do,” Paul Stastny said. “We rolled four lines and kept going and going and didn’t really take our foot off the gas pedal. That was important for us.”

Jake Allen said he could sense a difference long before Game 4 began.

“I could tell after (Game 3), guys were not happy with their performance there,” Allen said. “It was unacceptable I think from our standpoint and we had a lot to prove and a lot of ground to make up. I could tell right after the game, the reaction from some of the guys, that the second game (in Minnesota) was going to be a lot better.”

If the Blues are to advance in this series, they’ll need a lot where that came from. To a man, they all expect a big push from the Wild in tonight’s Game 5 (8:30 p.m., FSMW, NBCSN, Y98).

"They'll come out, they'll be ready," Stastny said. "I think for us, it's about what we do. When we've won, when we've been successful, I think we've been more worried about our game plan and we've stuck to it and haven't deviated from it too much.”

“It was their turn to adjust a little bit,” Patrik Berglund said. “They’re going to come out with a big push, and they didn’t like the score last game - they’re going to be ready this time.”

BERGLUND ROLLING

Speaking of Berglund, the Blues have to be very happy with what he’s brought to the table in the series thus far.

Berglund has two goals and two assists in the first four games.

“He’s playing well. He’s had some huge goals for us,” Jaden Schwartz said. “He’s really working hard to get to the dirty areas and it’s nice to see. He’s a fun guy in the locker room and a big, key guy for our team. It’s nice to see him stepping up like this.”

“I think it started in the regular season with 10 games (left),” Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said. “He’s just having more fun playing hockey. No pressure on himself, not stressing about what he’s not doing - he’s just coming and competing and playing.

“He’s really playing well right now. He’s playing very effective.”

DEFENSIVE STANDOUTS

Hitchcock called Alex Pietrangelo the Blues’ best player in the series. “He’s played unbelievable,” Hitchcock said. “All the little things you love in his game have been there. It started when we had four games left in the regular season and carried through the playoffs. He’s been outstanding every game.”

Jay Bouwmeester had a plus-4 rating in Game 4, which was a personal career high in the postseason. He’s just the sixth Blues defenseman in team history to record that rating in a playoff game.

Kevin Shattenkirk recorded the first three-assist playoff game for a Blue since Carlo Colaiacovo had three assists on April 16, 2012 vs. San Jose. Shattenkirk is tied for the League lead with seven points in the playoffs (7 assists).

PROJECTED LINEUP

Jori Lehtera did not participate in the morning skate today after being hit with a shot Wednesday in Game 4. Hitchcock called Lehtera 50-50 for tonight, but then said he was leaning more on the side of playing.

If Lehtera plays, the lines from Game 4 are expected to remain the same.

Forwards

Alexander Steen - David Backes - T.J. Oshie

Jaden Schwartz - Jori Lehtera - Vladimir Tarasenko

Dmitrij Jaskin - Paul Stastny - Patrik Berglund

Chris Porter - Steve Ott - Ryan Reaves

Defense

Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo

Carl Gunnarsson - Kevin Shattenkirk

Barret Jackman - Zbynek Michalek

Goalie

Jake Allen

BLUE NOTES

Allen has allowed two or fewer goals in 12 consecutive games. In that span, he has a League-best 1.39 goals-against average and .946 save-percentage. With a win in Game 4, Allen became the first Blues rookie to win a road playoff game since Curtis Joseph on April 8, 1990 against Toronto.

The Blues will host a pregame rally in the Clark Avenue Plaza outside Scottrade Center beginning at 5 p.m. today. The rally features live music at 6 p.m. and food from Pappy’s Smokehouse and Strange Donuts. Doors to Scottrade Center open at 7 p.m.

Fans in St. Louis can watch tonight’s game on FOX Sports Midwest or listen on Y98 FM. Outside the St. Louis area, the game will be televised on FOX Sports Midwest PLUS or NBC Sports Network. Click here for a channel list in your area.

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