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Blues want to 'put the noise behind us and play' Game 7 against Stars

Taking road mentality into series-deciding game on home ice

by Tracey Myers @Tramyers_NHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues have been more successful on the road than at home in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season. So how are they going to approach Game 7 of the Western Conference Second Round against the Dallas Stars at Enterprise Center on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVAS)?

"Treat it like a road game as much as we can," coach Craig Berube said Monday. "Play a simple brand of hockey and get to our game as quickly as possible. Just keep the noise out and focus on playing.

"Just put the noise behind us and play."

 

[RELATED: Complete Blues vs. Stars series coverage]

 

It's not hard to see why they would take that approach.

They are 2-4 on home ice during the playoffs, including a 2-1 loss to Dallas in Game 5 when they had 15 giveaways. They have allowed 18 goals and been outscored 8-6 in the third period. 

They are 5-1 away from St. Louis, allowing 10 goals while outscoring opponents 11-2 in the third. In their 4-1 win in Game 6 at Dallas on Sunday, they gave away the puck 10 times. 

They say it's all about keeping the game simple, minimizing the distractions and getting off to a quick start, an approach they will look to follow for Game 7.

"We've been good on the road all year, the regular season, the playoffs. Why? No clue," Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson said. "But we'll try to switch that around."

Video: Blais' first career playoff goal send Blues to Game 7

It hasn't been all bad at home. The Blues are 5-for-22 (22.7 percent) on the power play at home as opposed to 2-for-17 on the road (11.8 percent). They are 10-for-12 killing penalties (83.3 percent) at home compared to 11-for-16 away from St. Louis (68.8 percent). 

Though Berube said the Blues need to embrace the reaction they will get from the home crowd, they also said they must avoid getting caught up in the noise inside the arena and try to brush aside what they called distractions --- extra media attention, constant talk of a Game 7 -- that come from playing at home.

"You need to keep your head clean, you need to be focused on things that are really important to win games," forward Vladimir Tarasenko said. "Everybody has different mindsets, but you just need to be focused on the game. If you get too much stuff in your head, you'll overthink it and it'll affect your game, too. Just need to relax a little bit before the game."

There is also the matter of stopping the Stars, who have scored three goals in their past two games after scoring 13 through the first four games of the series.  

"[The Stars] move the puck fast, they have mobile [defensemen] that get up the ice quick and we've got to find ways to limit that," forward Pat Maroon said. "Limit their space by being physical and not letting them jump up in the play and not letting that top line get to their strengths. That's off the rush, so we've got to continue the back pressure, have good gaps, make it difficult for them to enter the zone and I think we'll be fine."

The Blues are looking to advance to the Western Conference Final for the first time since 2016. That season they won Game 7 of the second round in Dallas.

Now they have a chance to win the series at home, which is what they did in the first round when they defeated the Winnipeg Jets in Game 6. 

"We did it against Winnipeg, we won at home here," Gunnarson said. "Hopefully we can do that tomorrow night too."

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