The St. Louis Blues have a history of big letdowns in the NHL Playoffs. While hardly any of the current players were among those in the 1990s and early 2000s that continually broke the hearts of their fans, you can bet the fans become a bit restless when their team drops the first game of a playoff series.
The San Jose Sharks played excellent hockey on Thursday night, and with another game just hours away, their upset in game one is already being felt in St. Louis by the coaching staff.
CSN Bay Area has the latest update on the situation:
The big one was making third-line wing Chris Stewart a healthy scratch for the first time all year in exchange for Matt D'Agostini, a response not only to Stewart's intermittent work in Game 1 but over the course of an up-and-down year. Stewart was clearly surprised by the move, referring at one point to "it's hard to do a lot in a few minutes of playing time," but Hitchcock was not sparing in his analysis of the Stewart move.
"We need more from him," Hitchcock said. "We need more from that position, more tenacity, more determination, more second and third effort from that position."
That is a big move for the Blues, especially after they performed so well in the regular season. Given their struggles in game one, you can bet more changes could be on the way if the Sharks win again on Saturday. As for the other changes:
The other changes were more tactical - B.J. Crombeen for Ryan Reaves on fourth-line wing, a bit of a surprise, and Carlo Colaiacovo for Kent Huskins as Alex Pietrangelo's partner on the second defense pairing. The Blues struggled to make full sense of San Jose's third-line-fourth-line exchanges, and though Reaves was effective as a disruptor, Crombeen can do many of the same things and more still. Both he and D'Agostini will flank Scott Nichol on the Blues' fourth line, while Jamie Langenbrunner gets bumped to the third line with Jason Arnott and Vladimir Sobotka.
Game two of the series is schedule for 7:30 ET, which is 4:30 in the Bay Area.
For more on the Sharks and their quest for the Stanley Cup, head over to Fear The Fin.