Remember when the Blues were vulnerable at home? It's getting harder and harder to picture.
But it's true. Three seasons ago, the Blues were 18-18-5 at Scottrade Center. That is, they won less than half the time in their own building. There are snow-cone stands less generous with their ice. Need a road win, step right up. What flavor would you like?
Times – and coaches – have changed. Andy Murray skippered that 2009-2010 ship and, in part because of the home deficiency, was replaced by Davis Payne. But since Ken Hitchcock became master of the house early last season, Scottrade has become a desolate place for traveling hockey teams.
After beating the Nashville Predators 3-0 in front of 16,047 on Thursday, the Blues have a 32-6-5 record in town over the past two seasons; that's the best home cooking in the league. They have outscored the opposition 128-69 in that time, a plus-59 differential.
When the house is a rockin', visiting teams best not come a knockin.'
This time, the Blues got goals from T.J. Oshie, Patrik Berglund and Vladimir Tarasenko, and shutout goaltending from Jaroslav Halak.
"I think it's a confidence thing," said defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, part of the effort to limit Nashville to 13 shots. "'Hitch' came in and I think we kind of had a long homestand when he did, beat Chicago the first game, and I think we just got a lot of mojo out of that.
"From then on, we fed off the energy. We don't get very discouraged when we're on the wrong side of it. We're pretty resilient at home, I think, more than anything."
The texture of the game in the first period was much like the economy. Checking was tight, and numerous people were taking hits. But the Blues got a second crack at a manpower advantage with slightly more than seven minutes remaining in the first, and they converted.
David Perron took aim from the left boards as David Backes took up residence in front of netminder Pekka Rinne. The puck dropped at Rinne's doorstep, and Oshie raked it in for his third goal of the season.
Blues right at home in 3-0 victory
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Jan 25