Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/8/13
The Blues beat the Calgary Flames 3-2 on Thursday at Scottrade Center, nothing remarkable about that. The Flames are more like the Flicker these days. After a 3-0-2 start, they are 3-8-0 in their last 11. The Blues have beaten the Flames four times in succession now, five of the last six. A crowd of 14,877 reflected a lack of drama. More important than the consequences of the evening were the components. And the word we’re looking for is “consistency.” This isn’t a spelling bee, this is a hockey season. It stretches eight months at the outset and can advance into late June. The results of an early November visit by Calgary will likely melt into the background when the beards come out. The Blues are considered a championship threat. Come April, they are expected to graduate this regular season Summa Cum Playoffs. Come April, that will be all that matters. In the NHL, teams are honored for finishing first after the 82-game schedule, but they are not remembered. As consolation prizes go, the President’s Trophy is like winning “Best Dressed” at a mud-wrestling tournament. If the Blues are going to do more than capture points on a November night against Calgary, they need consistency in their game. “I look at the process,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “Players look at the record, coaches look at the process. And I know what’s coming down the pike. I know how good the teams are that we’re about to play here and I know how well they’re playing.” The Blues will play Pittsburgh on Saturday, Phoenix on Tuesday, Colorado on Thursday. All have wins in double figures. “The starts for us have been excellent,” Hitchcock added. “We’re prepared. We’re ready to go, but we seem to drop off and have to re-catch ourselves. “I think quite frankly that who we play is going to give us no choice. I think when you’re scared, you’re scared straight. If we don’t play on the mark every shift against a team like Pittsburgh, they’re going to beat us.” To the point, the Blues (10-2-2) success has been somewhat stilted. Before Thursday the 15 forwards occupying the roster accounted for 90 points. And the trio of David Backes, Alexander Steen and T.J. Oshie accounted for 45 of those. Nothing wrong with a load-bearing line, better to have one than not. But one-trick ponies don’t stay late into June. They take their “participation” medals and go home. The Blues are built on depth and balance. They require consistency up and down the lineup, and they require staying out of the penalty box to get it. Against the Flames, the Blues made eight trips to the box, six of them after opening a two-goal lead.
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