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Blues get another chance to lock up third place

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues

SUNRISE, FL - The Blues can lock up third place in the Central Division tonight in one of two ways:

1. Beat the Florida Panthers tonight AND get a Nashville Predators loss in any fashion to Dallas.
2. Get one point tonight against Florida and a Nashville loss in regulation.

By locking up third place, the Blues would guarantee themselves a first-round playoff matchup with the Minnesota Wild, with Games 1 and 2 occurring at Xcel Energy Center next week.

"We're not spending a lot of time thinking about that. I think our biggest focus is getting back to the details and right habits of our game," said Blues Head Coach Mike Yeo. "It would it be nice to know (our first-round opponent), yes. But far more important for us is the way that we're playing."

The Blues are coming off a 5-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night, which snapped a streak of nine consecutive games with at least one point (7-0-2). Tonight the Blues meet the Florida Panthers for just the second - and final - time this season. The Panthers won the first meeting between the clubs back on Feb. 20 at Scottrade Center when Vincent Trocheck scored with five seconds left in regulation to steal a 2-1 win.

The Panthers enter tonight's contest having lost five straight games.

For the Blues, though, the final three games of the season are about fine-tuning their game and making sure it's at its best entering the postseason.

"With three games left, we want to make sure we're feeling good going into the playoffs," said Jaden Schwartz. "Just try to work on a few things and get a little bit more momentum going our way and feel good about ourselves. We definitely want to win all three, but if anything, just keep building our game and feel confident."

Yeo says picking up wins in the final games after clinching a playoff spot is never easy.

"It's not an easy thing, I'll be honest," Yeo said. "There are a number of teams dealing with the same challenge. It's hard. You've fought all year long to get into the playoffs and you're so excited about the playoffs, it's hard not to have one eye on that.

"(But) that's our challenge."

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