ST. LOUIS - By all accounts, things seem to be off to a good start under new Blues Head Coach Mike Yeo.
The Blues, who had lost five of their last six games and went 5-8 in the month of January, roared to a 5-1 victory on Thursday against the Toronto Maple Leafs, snapping a four-game home losing streak in the process.
"I'm pretty happy. That was a good start," Yeo said of Thursday's win. "(There was) a lot to like about the game and obviously some areas we were a little bit sketchy at the beginning of the game, but Jake (Allen) held us in there and allowed us to find our game… the second period, in a lot of ways, is how the game should look."
Yeo said past experiences with coaching changes have taught him not to make too many changes right off the bat, both with systems and personnel.
"We tried to be careful as far as how much we changed (when I was with Pittsburgh)," Yeo said. "You just can't give the players too much right now, you can't overwhelm them with all kinds of details and all kinds of things you would like to see in the game, because the next thing is you see them go on the ice and they're paralyzed because they're thinking too much.
"With (Ken Hitchcock) here, there was a really good plan in place, a template we know we can go by and we knew it would be successful," Yeo added. "We're not straying too far from that. We're trying out a couple of things that maybe can enhance our game a little bit more on top of that as well."
"It's been business as usual," added Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo of Yeo taking over as head coach. "Mike hasn't tried to re-invent the wheel here. We're skating more than we have been lately just to implement things, but there's been more discussion off the ice as far as systems and things we want to change (eventually)."
Video: Mike Yeo goes one-on-one with John Kelly
Yeo's second test behind the Blues bench is a formidable one. Tonight, the Pittsburgh Penguins come to town for a 7 p.m. game with the Blues at Scottrade Center (FSMW, KMOX). The Penguins sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division, just five points back of the Eastern Conference-leading Washington Capitals. Pittsburgh, who is 22-3-2 at home but 10-10-3 on the road, is coming off a 4-3 overtime victory last night over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Blues and Penguins previously met on Jan. 24, where the Blues played a near-perfect road game and defeated the Penguins 3-0 at PPG Paints Arena.
"When you play against a team like Pittsburgh and the skill they have, you have to manage the puck the right way and you certainly have to play the right way without the puck, being in a good defensive position," Yeo said. "You might not have to force yourself to defend as much if you can play the right way with the puck, get to the offensive zone and challenge their defenseman and I thought we did a pretty good job of that."