ST. LOUIS — The Blues won Game 1 of their conference semifinal series with Dallas on Thursday, and came back Friday knowing they need to play better as the series goes forward.
"We know we have to be better tomorrow," defenseman Carl Gunnarsson said. "But we're playing a good team. We just have to focus on ourselves and just take another step. We know that wasn't good enough but we got the win, we're happy with that, but we have to keep improving."
Dallas was strong early and couldn't score, and then was very strong late and got one goal. Dallas had 17 shots on goal in the third period, the busiest period Jordan Binnington has faced in the playoffs so far.
"I didn't think that we made enough plays," coach Craig Berube said after the game. "We gotta be better making plays. Our puck play has gotta be better. All game, I didn't think it was great. We gotta be better. They're gonna be better next game, we gotta be better."
"I think they probably had a few more (spurts) than us to be honest," center Tyler Bozak said. "I didn't think we got off to the start we wanted. Obviously Binner held us in it and got a big goal from Fabs that kind of boosted us and I think we kind of took over a bit. It's two really defensive teams that don't give up a lot. Two really good goaltenders. There's not going to be a ton of shots throughout the whole series as some of those other series you see. We've got to capitalize on our chances and when you get a guy like Vladi getting opportunities, pretty happy with that."
The third period was a challenge, though the Blues had some breathing room when Tarasenko made it 3-1.
"It's tough," Bozak said. "Obviously, they're a really good team. It's the third period and they're down a couple goals, so they're going to press pretty hard. So you've go to think defense first and in those scenarios obviously, you want to play with the puck as much as you can in the O-zone. They're rolling their top guys out there and they're extremely good players. They're going to get their chances. I thought Binner did a great job and I thought our D did a great job."
“We started playing better (in the third period)," Dallas' Tyler Seguin said. "We showed some good stuff. We’re happy with some of the things we did in the game, but we also know there’s a lot of areas that need improving.”
"I think there’s a lot for us to build off of from that game," Dallas forward Jason Dickinson said. "We stuck to our game plan and the more we keep doing that, we’re just going to keep getting better at it. Eventually it’s going to turn in our favor."
BACK TO WORK
After a late night finish to Game 1, with the final horn sounding at 11:15 p.m., the Blues had an optional skate on Friday that was pretty well attended, with nine players who were on the ice on Thursday night coming back, along with most of the previous day's healthy scratches. Robert Bortuzzo was not on the ice.
After the delightful start to Thursday's broadcast on NBCSN, where a lot of people in St. Louis weren't able to see the game when Boston and Columbus went to overtime, there's good news for TV watchers! With an afternoon start on NBC, the Blues game isn't part of a doubleheader, so NBCSN can't mess up the feed.
After having Brendan Burke for Game 1, the Blues will get Kenny Albert for the rest of the series, along with AJ Mlezcko and Pierre McGuire. McGuire will be doing the game tonight in San Jose, then getting back to St. Louis for Saturday, then going back to San Jose for Sunday. Pierre McGuire is going to be an everyday thing.
And the Blues are the only game on Monday, so there's nothing to get in the way of that broadcast. The next game where something can go wrong on the TV side will be Game 4 and, if necessary, Game 5, where it's a late start and a back half of a doubleheader.