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Blues need to generate more offense: Hitchcock

by Louie Korac /

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The St. Louis Blues held an optional skate on Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center, and it was a very limited optional skate.

The Blues, who trail the Minnesota Wild 2-1 in their Western Conference First Round best-of-7 series after a 3-0 loss in Game 3 on Monday, could be in line for a lineup change or two in hopes of evening the series in Game 4 on Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN360, TVA3, FS-MW, FS-N). However, coach Ken Hitchcock, who was in a surprisingly good mood after losing on Monday, was not forthcoming.

"Possibly," Hitchcock said when asked about lineup changes.

Hitchcock was asked about perhaps inserting a player like defenseman Robert Bortuzzo into the lineup and Hitchcock said, "I'm not commenting on who I'm putting in or taking out."

The Blues said they feel they can still get back in the series and win it, but one area that needs to change is scoring opportunities for St. Louis.

Aside from the three empty-net goals scored against, the Blues have allowed five goals in three games, something Hitchcock touched on in speaking with the media. But the Blues, who have six goals in the series that includes an empty-netter, are not generating enough scoring chances, according to Hitchcock.

"The opposition's scored, what, five goals? Our goalie's been excellent," Hitchcock said of Jake Allen, who's allowed two or fewer goals in 10 consecutive starts dating to the regular season. "They've got five goals when you count the ones with the goalie in the net; that's not much. They're getting scoring opportunities, but we've allowed five goals. Any coach in the world would take five goals against right now after three games. It's what we're getting; we're getting not very much. Kudos to them, but if we want to get back in this series, we're going to have to get a lot more than we're getting right now. We're going to have to do more, we're going to have to get more."

That includes getting more from the Blues' best players. Players like forwards David Backes, T.J. Oshie, Paul Stastny, and defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who have not registered a point in the series.

"Well, that's the conversation that every coach usually has but it's a little bit deeper than that," Hitchcock said. "We're playing a team that's played the best hockey in the League since [acquiring Devan Dubnyk] and everybody is trying to catch up to them. I knew they were playing like this when we came in here and got beat right at the end of the regular season. It was our first experience at watching them play. They're on top of their game and it's our job to catch up."

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