Back-to-back is a good way to measure height between two people. It's a productive way for baseball teams to hit home runs. And if you show up at a restaurant with a few too many people, it's a great way to arrange the tables.
It is not the most desirable way to play hockey games. Before the weekend, NHL teams playing on the second night of back-to-back games were 6-11-1. But a night after winning in Dallas, the Blues fought off the back-to-back blues and rallied to defeat the Minnesota Wild 5-4 in overtime in front of 18,265 at Scottrade Center.
The Blues now are 8-9-1 on the back end of their last 18 two-night doubleheaders over the last two seasons. And in today's NHL, consecutive nights are part of the curriculum. The Blues have eight more of the back-to-back breakers in the months ahead.
But Ken Hitchcock has been at this NHL coaching biz for 16 seasons. He hasn't seen many teams like these Blues, who trailed 3-1 at one point Sunday.
"I've been around a long time, but the third period was impressive," the Blues' mentor said. "To do that back-to-back, it was a very physical game last night (in Dallas) and to come with that kind of effort, I think it was a real confidence booster."
The Wild, having lost their two previous games, arrived in St. Louis on Saturday and were rested and loaded for Blues. And they carried a 3-2 lead into the third period before the Note, playing their sixth game in nine nights, got off the mat.
Goals from Chris Stewart and Barret Jackman gave the home team a brief 4-3 lead. An unconventional — to be nice — goal by Minnesota's Dany Heatley sent the game to OT. But Vladimir Sobotka converted Andy McDonald's feed with 2:44 left in the extra period to decide it.
Sobotka had his first goal and the battling Blues, 33-6-5 at home over the last two seasons, had their fifth win in six games.
"It just goes to show that as a team we're pretty focused," Stewart said. "Our depth played a big part tonight. I mean, we were a little tired, got in late last night. We could have used that as an excuse and packed it in, down by two goals. But I think we really wanted to dig in and get the two points."
Blues win a Wild one
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Jan 28