If there's a good thing about the Blues' 6-3 loss to Winnipeg in Game 3 on Sunday night, it's that the Blues know full well why they lost. Winnipeg brought its game and the Blues didn't.
"I think our desperation has to be a lot better," left wing Jaden Schwartz said. "We all know it wasn't our game. I thought we weren't aggressive, we were on our heels a little bit, I thought our puck support wasn't good either."
Other than that, it was a fine outing.
"They had more pace than us right away in the game," coach Craig Berube said. "More urgency. We didn't match that early on. We escaped the first period 1-0 but even in the second they were desperate and we gotta match that desperation."
"We'll watch some film and make some adjustments," Schwartz said, "see what we can do better and I think the biggest thing was zone time. We didn't really create any zone time and that's where we're at our best."
Game 4 is Tuesday night at 8:30 (though that's really 8:45), and Berube said, forcefully: "We're going to get a good game tomorrow."
Another thing working in the Blues' favor is that goalie Jordan Binnington has yet to lose back to back games in his short NHL career. He's lost six times so far, and in the games following those six losses, he's 6-0-0 with a .935 save percentage and a 1.79 goals-against average.
"If it wasn't for him in the first period, we'd be down a couple goals early," Schwartz said. "We had the lead after one and we had a chance to regroup and we didn't. He made four or five Grade A stops in the first period. We didn't play well enough in front of him.
"(He'll respond) like he always does. He's a confident guy, he's focused, he's been unbelievable enough. I can't say enough good things. We've got to do our job of being better in front of him. We have a lot of confidence in him and we play a confident game in front of him."
The Blues had an optional skate on Monday, and Binnington and Zach Sanford were the only Blues who played on Sunday who took to the ice, along with the healthy scratches.
"It's about having a short memory and doing what makes you feel good for the next game," Binnington said of his bounceback skills. "I think that's what we focus on as a team and just believing in ourselves and trying to be as consistent as we can by preparing properly and that's what we're going to do."
TIME AND SPACE
One thing for the Blues to deal with is that they have let Winnipeg forwards, notably Patrick Laine, who has three goals in three games, have too much space to work with.
"They cut back on us quite a bit," Berube said. "They did a good job with their cutbacks and created some separation on us. Any time that happens, these good players, they're gonna find areas and find openings. So we gotta be tighter. We gotta be more desperate at getting on the puck carrier and eliminating the play right away, close it out quicker. We didn't close things out quick enough in this game."
"They do a good job of moving in the O zone," Schwartz said. "They've got quick guys, when they've got time and space, they can make you pay and they can make plays, so we have to be more aggressive on him and a lot of their other type guys."
Ivan Barbashev had 10 hits in Game 3, the second most in the postseason and a number reached only 12 times in the regular season. The Blues had 29 hits in Game 3, and in addition to Barbashev's 10, Oskar Sundqvist had five and Joel Edmundson had four. The rest of the team had 10. ... Zach Sanford played just 5:09 in Game 3, the second time he's played 6:30 or less in the first three games. If the Blues were to make a lineup move for Game 4, he would be the most likely candidate. If Sanford came out, Robby Fabbri or Sammy Blais would be the leading candidates to replace him.