ST. LOUIS – After scoring the Blues' first goal of the season in their opener on Oct. 9 vs. Philadelphia, it took Blues forward Brad Boyes more than a month a light the lamp again.
Boyes went into a scoring slump that lasted 14 games before he finally scored again on Nov. 13 in Phoenix. It was during that game that Boyes decided to do something about his rut, which became so bad that he started the game playing on the fourth line.
“Obviously he started the game in Phoenix on the fourth line and that was a little bit of a statement by him to not wait for the next opportunity,” Blues coach Davis Payne said. “He was going to go out there and demand it. I think a few games before that in the San Jose game he showed some signs that we’re looking for, demanding possessions with his feet, demanding some inside ice, looking to attack people and create some 2-on-1’s and I think he did that.
"He slipped a little bit and he went through the correction process on his own in Phoenix and hasn’t looked back."
Maybe finally getting one to fall was all Boyes needed as he went on to notch goals in four straight games to reassert himself as a scoring threat in the Blues lineup. Boyes had a six-game point streak snapped Friday vs. Dallas.
His recent hot streak has him tied for second on the team with both five goals and 13 points.
“I was getting chances,” Boyes said. “I was feeling it but you just need one of those to go in a different way and sometimes that can turn things around and get you fired up. There were opportunities I had but it was just a matter of changing things to get them to go in.
“It’s nice to chip in and help out when you can. I am just trying to take pucks to the net, work down low and spin off guys and try to take pucks to the net as opposed to looking to pass.”
Instead of acquiring a prolific goal scorer during the offseason, the Blues banked on Boyes returning to his form from the previous years. Boyes had a career-high 43 goals during the 2007-2008 season and followed that up with a 33-goal campaign in 2008-2009.
But the decline continued as Boyes netted just 14 goals last year, something he hoped to soon erase from his memory. So when the winger went 14 games without a goal early in the season, the pressure began to mount.
“I think it is mental but what does that mental part do to your game?” Payne said. “What does that mental part do to your actions on the ice? When a guy isn’t feeling that area, he usually defers to spots where he has a certain amount of comfort as opposed to redirecting and going to the tougher areas.
“You’re less likely to attack with your feet and you’re less likely to look shot first when you are dealing with a lower level of confidence, so these are the types of things we have encouraged Brad to continue to do. Trust the process, continue to trust getting to the right areas, moving your feet and attacking because the skill hasn’t gone away. It’s there and we want to make sure he keeps utilizing it.”
But the 28-year-old Boyes has finally turned it around and both he and the Blues hope it continues right through the regular season and into the playoffs.
“(Boyes) has been looking for this kind of stretch for quite some time,” Payne said. “I think we have to understand and he has to understand how it happens and continue to apply that to his game every single night. He’s moving his feet, he’s playing in the right areas, he’s attacking with the puck and not drifting to the outside waiting for somebody to make a play for him.