Blues can't finish off the Coyotes, lose in overtime

News-DemocratNovember 12, 2013 

— Call it "The Hangover" game.

Several Blues felt their team had a bit of a letdown following Saturday's emotional victory over Pittsburgh and that spilled over into a 3-2 overtime loss to the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday.

Both teams entered the game on hot streaks, but Phoenix's continued as Oliver Ekman-Larsson's partially screened shot made it past Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak 56 seconds into OT.

"Sometimes when you have an emotional game like that the next one you come out flat," Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester said. :We talked about it and you try not to let it happen, but it did. That's something you can take from the game, you just need a better start."

Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo didn't think Halak had much of a chance on the game-winner.

"I didn't see what happened up top, I was trying to box out," Pietrangelo said. "But I think I kind of got in the way of Jaro there, too. Jaro really had no chance, I don't think he saw it."

A crowd of 15,678 at Scottrade Center saw the Blues (11-3-2) fall short in their bid to reach the most successful start in franchise history despite outshooting the Coyotes 39-19.

Goaltender Mike Smith was the difference for Phoenix (13-4-2), turning aside 37 shots. He was razor sharp while the Blues were outshooting his team 13-3 in the third period.

"When you double up a team in shots you expect to bury a few more and that's upon us to do that," said Blues captain David Backes, who failed to convert on an excellent 2-on-1 scoring chance with Alexander Steen in the second period.

"(Smith) made some phenomenal saves. That being said, we've got good players on our team that just need to find another shot to get by him, myself especially, and maybe we're having a different conversation now."

Echoing a theme he harped on during the last two Blues' playoff series defeats, coach Ken Hitchcock said his team has to outwork the opposing goalie.

"We worked and we competed, but the goalie was better than we were," Hitchcock said. "The goalie was more determined than some of our shooters were. It's a trend, the same thing happened (against) Pittsburgh. We won the game, but if we want to get to the next level the final solution is outworking the goalie."

The Blues started strong with an early goal from Maxim Lapierre, then allowing the tying goal less than two minutes later and seemed to be in a funk for much of the middle portion of the game while falling behind 2-1.

Trailing 2-1 headed into the third period, the Blues quickly netted the equalizer from an unlikely source.

Steen --playing in his 300th game with the Blues -- spotted defenseman Roman Polak making a run to the net and put the puck right on Polak's stick.

Polak quickly deposited his shot into the net for his second goal at the 2:49 mark.

The assist pushed Steen's point streak to 11 straight games and he has 10 goals and four assists during that span. The scoring streak is the longest active streak in the NHL this season.

Patrik Berglund missed a golden opportunity after being set up by T.J. Oshie, then Smith robbed Derek Roy with a sparkling glove save with 7:05 remaining in regulation.

A goal by center Lapierre 5:53 into the contest helped the Blues first for the eighth straight games and 13th times in 16 overall.

Lapierre redirected a shot from the left point by defenseman Jay Bouwmeester past Smith with Blues winger Brenden Morrow also pushing his way into the picture.

Smith has won six of his last seven starts and is 10-1-2 in his last 12.

The lead lasted less than two minutes as Phoenix tied it on a goal by David Moss. The Coyotes gained possession following a turnover by T.J. Oshie and Mike Ribeiro got the puck to Moss, who fired a wrist shot from the circle past Halak.

Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk was caught up ice just before the first period ended and the Coyotes took advantage.

Rob Klinkhammer set up Mikkel Boedker for the go-ahead goal with 31 seconds remaining in the period.

There were no goals during the second period, with Bouwmeester sliding across to break up a Coyotes 2-on-1 opportunity following another Blues turnover.

Hitchcock tried shuffling the lines looking for some more offense, using Jaden Schwartz with Backes and Steen and reuniting the Brenden Morrow-Vladimir Sobotka-Chris Stewart line.

Oshie was inserted onto a line with Patrik Berglund and Vladimir Tarasenko.

Contact reporter Norm Sanders at 239-2454, or on Twitter @NormSanders

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