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Second Round

Blues hope to continue confident play in Game 4 against Stars

Calm approach has allowed them to take lead in Western Conference Second Round

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

DALLAS -- The St. Louis Blues hope to build on their confident play in Game 4 of the Western Conference Second Round against the Dallas Stars on Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVAS, SN).

During the final seven minutes of the third period in the Blues' 4-3 win in Game 3 on Monday, the Stars scored tying goals twice. Each time the Blues responded, capped by Pat Maroon's game-winning goal with 1:38 remaining.


[RELATED: Complete Blues vs. Stars series coverage]


The Blues feel their unflappable mentality is one reason why they lead the best-of-7 series 2-1 and are two victories from reaching the Western Conference Final for the second time in four seasons.

St. Louis is 4-0 on the road to begin the playoffs for the second time, and first time since 1969.

"They're not always going to go your way and you've just got to keep fighting and stay with it," Blues coach Craig Berube said. "Frustration's not a good thing. It's important to stay composed, stay working and keep working."

The Blues were tested Monday, but Berube said the core group of veteran players kept the message simple and clear and the group remained poised.

"We've got good veterans to keep everything calm," Berube said. "[Alexander] Steen does a great job with that, [Alex] Pietrangelo, [Jay] Bouwmeester, all the veteran guys, [Ryan] O'Reilly, [Vladimir] Tarasenko. We've got a lot of veterans.

"We've got to stay calm and composed. We talk about discipline and composure all the time during games. I thought we did a good job of it."

When Stars forward Andrew Cogliano tied the game 2-2 with a shorthanded goal at 13:06 of the third, that seemed to hand the momentum to Dallas. But Pietrangelo had an answer 1:18 later to give the Blues a 3-2 lead. When Tyler Seguin tied it 3-3 at 15:52 following a Blues turnover, Maroon answered 2:30 later to put the Blues ahead 4-3.

Video: STL@DAL, Gm3: Maroon pots go-ahead goal for Blues

St. Louis also had strong responses against the Winnipeg Jets each time they pushed during the Blues' six-game series victory in the first round.

"I think a lot of that is experience and learning from things that go on through the year, and previous years," Steen, 35, said. "We've done a good job of that throughout the season and especially in the playoffs. We've grown quite a bit in that department. It's obviously something we'll continue to do, staying even-keeled. And the easiest way to do that is focusing on the present. Obviously we'll look back at the game and analyze it and we'll get ready for the next game."

That forward-looking focus helped against the Jets. Rather than dwell on the excitement of their come-from-behind 3-2 win in Game 5, they pushed for a 3-0 lead in Game 6 and closed the series with a 3-2 victory.

St. Louis defenseman Robert Bortuzzo said a quiet confidence was built when the Blues went on their season-closing 30-10-5 run that started when they were last in the NHL standings Jan. 2.

"We have this confidence about this group," he said. "Maybe we haven't made things easy on ourselves at times. We had the Winnipeg game where we were up 3-0 and what not, but that quiet confidence steps in and we know that we're going to get the job done and we've proven to do that in many games here.

"It's just something we've built over this stretch of good hockey we've been playing into January and through here. We're a team that plays with a quiet confidence that we know if we go about our business, dictate our pace on other teams, we'll have success."


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