Originally created 05/07/02

Blues remain confident heading into Game 3



ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues, despite being down 2-0 to the Detroit Red Wings, haven't lost any confidence.

After practice on Monday, they were upbeat, saying the best-of-seven series is far from over.

"In my eyes, it's still going to be a long series," goalie Brent Johnson said. "It can change in a heartbeat."

Blues coach Joel Quenneville contemplated a few lineup changes for Tuesday night's Game 3, but it's likely there will be nothing major aside from finding a fill-in for the injured Ray Ferraro. Ferraro is questionable with an undisclosed injury.

"We've got a great hole and it's a big challenge," Quenneville said. "But I still believe our guys all believe that what we have ahead of us, winning four games, is achievable and attainable. We win, we're right back in the middle of it."

Red Wings coach Scotty Bowman knows from first-hand experience that the job is only half over. Detroit rallied after losing the first two games at home to the Vancouver Canucks in the first round. Last year they lost in the first round to the Los Angeles Kings after taking a 2-0 lead.

"The third game is a swing game," Bowman said. "But I don't think you can play with a 2-0 mindset."

This is especially so because the Blues and Red Wings have been basically on equal footing the first two games. Red Wings goalie Dominik Hasek has been the difference with 58 saves.

Bowman counted about 20 scoring opportunities for each team in Game 2.

"We're definitely not dominant," Red Wings forward Kris Draper said. "Look at the saves Dom had to make; he's been unbelievable for us.

"We put ourselves in a good situation, but this is far from over and we realize that."

Scott Mellanby, who got both Blues' goals in the Red Wings' 3-2 victory in Game 2, said Detroit's advantage has nothing to do with St. Louis being in awe of their opponent's collection of skilled talent. He believes it's the other way around.

"Maybe we don't respect them enough," he said. "We're giving them six power plays a game, and we can't be undisciplined."

The key to a Blues surge is the power play, which has been shut out in nine opportunities thus far. They were 5-for-20 in the first round against the Chicago Blackhawks, eliminating them in five games.

"We need our power play to get us ignited, particularly early in games," Quenneville said. "Five on five, there's not much we can do as far as changing up our game."

The Blues' big gun on the back line, Al MacInnis, has been held to four assists in the playoffs. He's been frustrated by forwards diving in front of him before he can release his slap shot.

"They've been diving in front of me for years," MacInnis said. "I have to do a better job maybe of keeping my head up when they go down and walk around and be a little more creative. Some of those guys, like (Steve) Yzerman, they can time it pretty good."

St. Louis also likely will continue to try to punish the Red Wings with physical play. Quenneville was happy with the Blues' start in Game 2, except Johnson misplayed the puck behind the net to give up a goal on Detroit's second shot.

"We just have to come with the mindset that we've got to be ready for it," Draper said. "We've had some pretty good starts and we have to make sure we come out with a lot of energy and intensity and emotion as well."