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Blues want to keep it simple in Game 3 at Wild

by Louie Korac /

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The St. Louis Blues understand that Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round against the Minnesota Wild on Monday (8 p.m. ET; CNBC, SN1, TVA2, FS-MW, FS-N) will bring with it a boisterous crowd at Xcel Energy Center.

But the Blues, who had the third-best points percentage on the road in the NHL during the regular season (24-12-5), have been good at taking the emotion of the home team and its crowd out of the what fuels their intensity. They keep their game plan simple and execute it accordingly, and will need that if they're going to grab back home-ice advantage with the best-of-7 series tied 1-1.

"We've got to obviously maybe play a bit more simple on the road," said right wing Patrik Berglund, who scored a goal in Game 2. "Obviously they're going to come out and play really physical and have a lot of energy in the beginning of the game. I think it's really important that we stay really calm and we play the simple north game and let that [emotion] kind of die down a bit, and then we go to work. To win series and stuff like that, you've got to steal some wins on the road. Obviously, it's a big two games here."

Is there a reason why the Blues tend to keep it simpler on the road?

"There's always a need in your own building to create a little bit more energy," defenseman Barret Jackman said. "You almost feel like you have to put on a show and entertain fans. On the road, you just go out there and you keep everything simple. Really, the mindset we have on the road should be at home, too, but I guess it's kind of hard to break that mold."

Center Jori Lehtera agreed.

"At home, we put the skill before the work and on the road, we put the work before the skill," Lehtera said. "That's a big thing."

So when the puck drops Monday, the key for coach Ken Hitchcock is, "The start. Simple, smart, straightforward, not wrapped up in emotion of event, understanding in order to get what want you want, not get wrapped up in the emotional part of game. That's key to winning on the road at any time, but especially true in the playoffs."

Here are the projected lineups:


Dmitrij Jaskin - David Backes - T.J. Oshie

Alexander Steen - Jori Lehtera - Vladimir Tarasenko

Jaden Schwartz - Paul Stastny - Patrik Berglund

Steve Ott - Marcel Goc - Ryan Reaves

Carl Gunnarsson - Alex Pietrangelo

Jay Bouwmeester - Zbynek Michalek

Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk

Jake Allen

Brian Elliott

Scratched: Olli Jokinen, Chris Porter, Chris Butler, Robert Bortuzzo, Ty Rattie, Niklas Lundstrom

Injured: None


Zach Parise - Mikael Granlund - Jason Pominville

Jason Zucker - Mikko Koivu - Chris Stewart

Thomas Vanek - Charlie Coyle - Nino Niederreiter

Sean Bergenheim - Kyle Brodziak - Justin Fontaine

Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin

Marco Scandella - Jared Spurgeon

Jordan Leopold - Matt Dumba

Devan Dubnyk

Darcy Kuemper

Scratched: Matt Cooke, Ryan Carter, Erik Haula, Jordan Schroeder, Christian Folin, Nate Prosser, Niklas Backstrom

Injured: Keith Ballard (concussion)

Status report: Hitchcock will stick with the same lineup from Games 1 and 2.

Who's hot: Tarasenko, who had a hat trick in Game 2, has seven goals in his past eight Stanley Cup Playoff games. He and Shattenkirk share the series lead in points with four. ... Lehtera leads the NHL in faceoff winning percentage (76.9 percent) among those with a minimum of 10 attempts. He's won 20 of 26 in two games.

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