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playoffs

Blues focus on Game 4, not big win

Feel fortunate to have 2-1 series lead against Dallas

by Louie Korac / NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues have the momentum in their Western Conference Second Round series against the Dallas Stars, but they understand it will only carry them so far. 

The Blues took a 2-1 series lead with 6-1 win in Game 3 on Tuesday. Game 4 of the best-of-7 series is at Scottrade Center on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports). 

The lopsided victory was nice, but the Blues believe they have to stick their season-long approach of putting aside past results, win or lose, and focusing on what is ahead.

The Blues know from experience what can happen when a team loses its focus in the Stanley Cup Playoffs after a big win. Last year, St. Louis defeated the Minnesota Wild 6-1 in Game 4 of the Western Conference First Round to tie the series 2-2 but lost the next two games.

Video: DAL@STL, Gm3: Steen nets a pair in Game 3

"I think it's just one game," Blues forward Paul Stastny said Wednesday. "Sometimes if you lose a game like that, you'd rather lose a game like that instead of a heartbreaker. 

"We know they'll forget about it. We'll forget about it and get ready for [Thursday]."

The Blues, who have won six playoff games in the same season for the first time since 2001, when they reached the Western Conference Final, have drawn on this season's low points -- long-term injuries to key players, bouts of poor play --- to stay focused.

"I just think it's adversity that matures you or rips you apart," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We've had adversity through the year and it's brought us closer together, so there isn't anything we don't think we can overcome. We've had to do it lots this year and we've been able to do that during competition, during the games, during off-days. 

"I think in order to win in this business you need to be grounded on off-days. It's got to be back to work, back to business. You've got to be able to look in the mirror unemotionally, so there's things we're going to look at today that we need to get better at. This was a very even game and we caught three or four breaks in the first period and we took advantage of it in the second period. … We know they're looking at the same tape we are. We've got to make sure we're ready for that."

It's why the Blues had a businesslike approach during practice Wednesday. 

"We'll go over things today," forward Jaden Schwartz said. "We've learned from previous series. We know they're so hungry and they'll come out to even this series up. We're not going to change anything. We're going to make sure we come out with a similar start. Just kind of keep building off what we did last night. We're not going to take anything for granted, take anything lightly."

Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said, "We've already been talking about it in the room. We're not going to score six goals every game. I mean, you want to, but we got a couple good bounces last night. But for us, creating those opportunities, playing the same way ... for us, it's playing the right game. Whether we scored six or three last night, we felt like we played the game we wanted to play and that was the result."

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