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Blues feeling confident after back-to-back overtime wins

4-1-0 stretch puts them one point from second wild card in West

by Tracey Myers @TraMyers_NHL / Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- Down 2-0 after the first period. A disallowed goal late in the second. Giving up a goal with less than two seconds remaining in the second.

There were plenty of times the St. Louis Blues could have faded Sunday. Whenever they tied the score, the Chicago Blackhawks took the lead again. But the Blues know what's at stake. They know a Stanley Cup Playoff spot could depend on getting every point out of their last 10 games, so for the second time in as many days they found a way to come back and get two critical points.

St. Louis (39-28-5, 83 points) has won two in a row -- each in overtime -- and four of five. Its 5-4 thriller in Chicago came 24 hours after defeating the New York Rangers 4-3 at home. The Blues are one point behind the Los Angeles Kings for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference and three points behind the Colorado Avalanche for the first wild card. 

Their past two wins weren't the prettiest, but at this time of the season it isn't about style points.

Video: STL@CHI: Berglund gives Blues win in overtime

"Every game right now, we know it feels like do or die. You lose one game and it feels like you fall two places in the standings. It's just a crazy time of year," forward Kyle Brodziak said. "We know we have to win every chance we get, every game we play we have to take advantage."

This was another reminder that nothing has come easy this season. Besides trailing three times -- 2-0, 3-2 and 4-3 -- the Blues were without forward Vladimir Tarasenko, who is day to day after sustaining an upper-body injury on Saturday. Tarasenko leads with Blues with 27 goals and has 58 points, second to Brayden Schenn's 60. Injuries have been an issue all season -- they have 270 man-games lost -- so Sunday was one more day when others had to fill a void.

"A few guys we had to play an awful lot and relied on very heavily," Blues coach Mike Yeo said. "It's character at that time, that's all it is. You're not allowed to be tired, you're not allowed to be frustrated, whatever it is. Obviously we understand the importance of every play and found a way."

The Blues will be relying on everyone down the stretch but perhaps no one more than goaltender Jake Allen. Yeo talked of Allen's great work late last season, when Allen went 11-2-2 in his final 15 regular-season games to help St. Louis make the playoffs. This season, Allen has won four of his past five starts, and though he gave up four goals on 30 Chicago shots, he said how he reacts to those goals is what's critical at this point.

"Goals are going to go in. Right now, it's not about how they go in, it's how you respond," Allen said. "Whether it's a tic-tac-toe goal, backdoor goal or a shot from the other end of the ice that I let in, it's the way I respond, how I regroup and how I play for this team. It's not about me. It's how we get points right now.

"I think a lot of people ruled us out but we're still trying to keep it going. We still have a long way to go. We're not anywhere where we need to be but we're moving in the right direction."

Video: STL@CHI: Pietrangelo ties game late with one-timer

It's been a roller-coaster season for the Blues. On Dec. 13, they were the best team in the Western Conference (21-9-2, 44 points). From Feb. 11-27, they lost seven straight games (0-6-1). On Feb. 26, forward Paul Stastny was traded to the Winnipeg Jets for forward prospect Erik Foley, a conditional first-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. On March 5, it was announced defenseman Jay Bouwmeester would miss the rest of the season with a left hip injury. That same day, forward Scottie Upshall was ruled out four weeks with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee.

And yet here the Blues are, vying for a playoff spot.

They recognize where they are in the standings, where they could be and what they need to do to get there. They've had comeback victories, but as Yeo said, Sunday's outing, "was another level." The final regular-season stretch isn't going to be an easy one but the Blues are finding ways to get precious points.

"The way I see some guys battling and competing, what they're showing as far as how we don't want to go away, it's says a lot. But we still have a way to go," Yeo said. "We'll enjoy this one, and then we'll get regrouped for another challenge."

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