In an effort to avoid a repeat of last year's disappointing postseason, the St. Louis Blues made changes. Out went Chris Stewart. In came Steve Ott. Jaroslav Halak was let go. Ryan Miller was brought in.
The results, through five games of the 2014 playoffs? Frustratingly similar, as the club finds themselves on the verge of being eliminated by the Blackhawks heading into Game 6.
Actually, make that eerily similar. What in the actual heck is going on here?
It was shocking enough that Barret Jackman scored a playoff game-winning goal two years in a row. But the rest of this stuff? The Steen game-winner? The Game 3 shutout? The Game 5 OT loss? Borderline witchcraft.
The two Game 5s are the creepiest. In both games, the teams traded second period goals, Alex Pietrangelo scored in the third, and the overtime winners came just 24 seconds apart. Cue the Twilight Zone theme.
"If they get to dictate, they're going to win," Ken Hitchcock said of what the Blues need to do in Game 6. "If we get to dictate, we're going to win." One assumes he meant the Blackhawks when he said they, but he might mean the cruel hockey gods that are guiding each playoff game to a familiar finish. Or whoever keeps altering the code of the matrix.
On the bright side, the Blues can stop beating themselves up for letting Jonathan Toews get in alone two nights ago. It was written.
Methinks the Blues need to stop using "I Got You Babe" as their pregame warmup jam, and whichever member of the Blues keeps striking out with Rita needs to get it together before it's too late.
So what should we expect to happen in Game 6? If this creepy timeline holds, the Blues are in store for a devastating 2-1 loss, with the game-winner scored one second before the second intermission. If they're smart, the moment they get inside the final ten seconds, someone should just lie down on the puck to make sure it doesn't end up in their net.