|Blues bid to keep focused vs. Canadiens|
The St. Louis Blues enter Saturday afternoon's home contest with the Montreal Canadiens having picked up points in six of their seven games.
However, things could be even better for the defending Stanley Cup champions if they had done a better job of protecting early leads.
The Blues have lost three times this season in overtime or a shootout despite leading by two goals in each game, including a 3-2 overtime setback at the New York Islanders on Monday, when they squandered a 2-0 advantage in the final six minutes of regulation. St. Louis also dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to the visiting Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.
St. Louis had a 3-1 lead early in the second period versus Vancouver, which rallied to win the game in the sixth round of the shootout on a goal by Josh Leivo.
"It's frustrating," Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington said. "Giving up leads and losing these extra points is frustrating. We have to find a way to come out on top."
"It's a staple of our game for years here, right, is closing out leads," Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo told NHL.com. "We've just got to find a way to keep playing the same way. A couple of weird bounces the last couple of games, not an excuse, but I think we can still do a better job of closing teams out ... and once you start closing out games, we're going to be pushing things in the right direction."
St. Louis defenseman Colton Parayko was asked what could be done to stop squandering leads late in games.
"Just stay on them," Parayko said. "It's tough. They want to win, too.
"Just continue to stay with our game plan. It's not easy to win in this league. Just make sure we stay focused, just don't take any lead for granted, and continue to push."
The Blues' three-game losing streak started with a 6-3 loss at Montreal last Saturday night. St. Louis also led that one, 3-2, midway through the second period only to see the Canadiens rally to score the final four goals of the game.
Montreal followed up that win with a 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday before rebounding for a 4-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night. Carey Price finished with 17 saves to record his first shutout of the season and 45th of his career, just one behind Ken Dryden for third most in Canadiens' history.
"We all knew that we could play better defensively," Price told NHL.com, "and I thought (Thursday) we were reloading and getting in the slot lanes and doing all the right things."
Brendan Gallagher, who had a goal and two assists in last Saturday's win over the Blues, joined Joel Armia, Victor Mete and Nick Suzuki by scoring in Montreal's win over the Wild.
It was the first NHL goal of their career for both Suzuki and Mete.
Suzuki came over from the Vegas Golden Knights as part of the Max Pacioretty trade in September 2018.
Mete, a defenseman, was playing in his 127th NHL contest.
--Field Level Media