The St. Louis Blues may have beaten out Detroit for the Central Division championship, but they're still having a tough time figuring out the Detroit Red Wings.
St. Louis blew a two-goal lead in the third period Wednesday and lost for the fourth straight time to the Wings this season. The Blues have now lost a season-high three consecutive games for the second time in 2011-12, and they're just 3-3-4 in their last 10 games.
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, however, has been preaching lately that he's less concerned about the result on the scoreboard and more focused on how his club is executing overall. And he wasn't disappointed in the team's performance Wednesday.
"We did a lot of real good things," Hitchcock said. "You've got to be happy with it. We played exactly the way we have to play to win hockey games. We made a couple of defensive errors, we didn't protect the puck at the right time, but overall there are a lot of good things to build on."
The Blues took a 2-0 lead but quickly coughed it up on two goals by Johan Franzen.
"We got away from checking, from limiting their chances in the offensive zone," Blues forward T.J. Oshie said. "Obviously they're a great team, they have high-end skill on their team, but we can't be giving up what we did. I think we stopped going at them, started trying to make too many plays."
Prior to the late collapse, the Blues were happy with the way they controlled the game. They outhit the Red Wings 24-12, with Ryan Reaves contributing three hits before being ejected from the game on a questionable five-minute major penalty for boarding. Reaves was back in the lineup after sitting out one game as a healthy scratch.
"I think we're built a certain way, and the last couple of games we got away from it, so he's back in," Hitchcock said. "We're better when we knock people on their seats, and we've got to get back to that mentality with our role players. ... We're not a good team when we play quiet."
Hitchcock said of the call on Reaves, "What I saw on the replay and what I was told, I didn't like the call."
The Blues also didn't like the fact that Franzen got away with shoving and punching Blues captain David Backes at the end of the second period.
"Really surprised. ... We'll see where that goes," Hitchcock said.
The Blues will be going nowhere. They'll stay home to host the Phoenix Coyotes on Friday before wrapping up the regular season Saturday in Dallas.