MARYLAND HEIGHTS — The Blues didn't expect to have Monday off, but that's what they got when the Wild and the NHL decided to postpone their game because of the unrest in the area after another police shooting.
So at about 7 last night, when the game was supposed to begin, the Blues' plane had just taken off to bring them back home.
They were back on the ice at Centene Community Ice Center this morning for a slightly longer than usual practice. Up next is a game on Wednesday against Colorado, which has the best record in the NHL.
"It's happened twice now," coach Craig Berube said Tuesday. "It's unfortunate, the things that happen and they go on and it was probably the right thing to do in Minny at the time. We just deal with stuff and move on. We've got to focus on Colorado tomorrow.
"I don't think (the extra rest) hurts. It's a lot of hockey, there's a lot of hockey coming up. So it's not a bad thing. The guys were pretty keyed up to play Minny though. Playing them two times in a row, and they're a team we're trying to catch. I thought we played them pretty well here at home, but that's the way it goes. So we got a practice in today and we're getting ready for tomorrow."
And it was the same team, after general manager Doug Armstrong didn't make any moves at the trade deadline. Berube feels he has the sufficient pieces to make a run at the postseason and then in the postseason.
"I do," he said. "I think we've been playing some good hockey here for a while. I think the scoring's coming. We've got to continue to push scoring goals and find ways to score goals. The power play is part of it. I feel like some of our guys that were out a long time are starting to come around and find a groove."
For an off-night, Monday turned out pretty good for the Blues, as the three teams with a chance of catching them in the West all lost in regulation. Arizona, their closest pursuer, lost to Colorado. San Jose, next up, lost to Anaheim. And Los Angeles lost to Vegas. That means the fourth-place Blues still have one more point than fifth-place Arizona, but have two more games to play. San Jose is four points back and even on games with the Blues and Los Angeles is six points back and even on games.
None of the West teams are in action tonight.
Arizona plays the Wild on Wednesday. That game has been moved up from an 8 p.m. start to a 1 p.m. start to avoid any troubles with curfews, which was one of the reasons the Blues game was postponed.
Lines and pairings were the same in practice on Tuesday.
The Blues are 1-3 against the Avalanche this season, with the only win coming on opening night. But, other than the 8-0 loss in the second game of the season, the games have been close.
"I think we play a pretty good brand of hockey against them," Berube said. "We make it a tough game for them as best we can. That's a difficult team, they have a lot of high-end players and a lot of speed, real mobile defensemen that can get up the ice. We get keyed up to play them pretty hard and I expect the same tomorrow. We've got to go out and do a good job on the MacKinnon line for sure, find a way to get pucks past their goalie. Those last two games, they could have gone either way in my opinion. ... Close games, but we've got to make sure we keep having these good first periods that we've been having. They're important and I think that's going to be a big part of the game tomorrow, coming out hard in the first and attacking their net and getting lots of pucks to the net here."