The Blues’ transformation continues as they run their win streak to seven games

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The Blues beat Anaheim 3-1 on Monday to become the first team in NHL history to win seven games in a row after having a losing streak of eight or more games. If it seems hard to put your arms around, you’re not alone.

“It seems like one of those stats that you just call a stat and make it up because you are short of information on the day,” said Blues defenseman Justin Faulk,

No, it’s true. The Blues have gone from night to day, cold to hot, left to right, north to south, pick your favorite two words that are exact opposites of each other. The Blues also extended their record for the longest streak by a team that had lost eight in a row, all in regulation. The Blues continue to turn their season on its head. Not long ago, they were tied for the fewest points in the league (though never the worst points percentage), at the close of business on Monday, they were in the first wild-card playoff spot (though admittedly even on points with three others but ahead on tiebreakers) in the West, having done a 180 in just 12 days.

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And if you want to know how, the game Monday played it out in one neat two-hour-and-21-minute capsule.

The Blues were not good in the first period. They may have scored a goal — from the suddenly omniscient Noel Acciari 11 seconds in — but the remainder of the period was marked by turnovers and failed clearances and fumbled chances and one mess after another. And then in the second and third periods, the Blues looked pretty good and probably should have gotten a go-ahead goal well before Faulk’s power-play goal with 4:13 to go in the game broke a 1-1 tie.

“I think we’re committed to the details of the game,” Faulk said, “working hard, making it tougher on an opponent and I think there were kind of two sides of it there. In the first period tonight you saw when we weren’t committed to it. We weren’t taking care of the puck and working hard without it. They had the momentum and kind of took it to us during the first period and then we were able to do the opposite there in the second and that’s the game we want to play and it puts a lot of pressure on the other teams. That’s the style we try and have around here and it’s tough on them. And we don’t want anyone to have an easy night and that’s really what we’re trying to build.

“We all know that wasn’t a good first period and you don’t want to ever be in that situation where you say, we got to flip the switch, or anything like that. But we knew we had to come up with a better effort. We were lucky that it was 1-1 and we got that early goal but other than that there wasn’t a ton to the first period so we escaped at even and we knew we had to build a game the rest of the way.”

So substitute “losing streak” for “first period” and “winning streak” for “second period” and there you go.

“That’s the guys,” said Blues coach Craig Berube. “They dug in and started doing things the right way and getting that team game going … on the ice. That’s the biggest thing for me. It really boils down to again how you play the game. Our puck battle (win percentage) has been extremely high in this run, even starting before that. Competitive. It’s just about your puck play. Not making careless plays on the puck; it’s so important in this game. I get it, you want to make plays and there’s plays to be made, but it’s understanding the situation, it’s understanding the pressure that’s there. It’s so important.”

St. Louis Blues left wing Brandon Saad tries to shake Ducks defenseman Austin Strand on Monday, Nov. 21, 2022, as goalie Josh Gibson looks on in the second period of a game at Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Mo. Photo by Christian Gooden, [email protected]

“I think the pucks have started going the right way,” said Acciari, who may have set an NHL record by scoring two goals 59:30 apart in the game, getting his first 11 seconds in and then sealing the game with an empty-net goal with 19 seconds to play. “We’re starting to get some bounces and I think the confidence for some guys is starting to come back from that eight-game skid. Things are clicking, but there’s still some things we need to work on. We knew they were going to give us our best and we were able to stick with the game and get a win there.”

You also could see how things are supposed to look in the play of Acciari. His two goals — the first was the sixth-fastest goal in Blues history — gave him five on the season, tying him for second on the team with Ryan O’Reilly and Brayden Schenn, one behind Jordan Kyrou. He has three goals in the past two games, five points in the past four. He was, on Monday night, pretty much everywhere. With his temporary elevation to the third line because of Vladimir Tarasenko’s illness, Acciari played a season-high 19:20 but it seemed like he played 39:20.

“He’s playing well, that’s what he does,” Faulk said. “He’s a prime example of committing to the details of the game. He works hard, he forechecks, he hits, he block shots, he’s willing to sacrifice for the group and he’s playing well and it’s great to see him get rewarded for it. He’s a competitor and he shows up every night he brings the same game and that’s all you can ask from guys.”

The Blues got Colton Parayko back on Monday, but were without Torey Krug, who suffered an upper-body injury in the morning skate, came out for pregame warmups but couldn’t go. No word yet on how long he may be out.

St. Louis Blues coach Craig Berube on Monday, Nov. 21, 2022, talks about the team winning seven games in a row after their victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Video courtesy of the St. Louis Blues.

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