ST. LOUIS - The St. Louis Blues wasted no time setting the tone in Friday night's win over the Nashville Predators.
Blues forwards Pat Maroon and Brayden Schenn each dropped the gloves with Nashville's Austin Watson and Ryan Hartman, respectively, in the first 75 seconds of St. Louis' 6-2 win. The Blues rode that momentum the entire game.
The Blues will need that toughness as they host the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night.
"You should have heard our bench," Schenn said of Maroon's fight just two seconds in. "A lot of emotion on our bench. It got us going. I think last game, we played hard, we were physical. Obviously the fights weren't involved in the game but it was a hard game. Guys were engaged emotionally and I think we carried that over tonight."
The win snapped a three-game losing streak that included the firing of head coach Mike Yeo on Monday. It allowed the Blues (8-10-3) to split a home-and-home against the Central-leading Predators.
Blues center Ryan O'Reilly, who had a goal and an assist in the win, said those fights set the tone.
"I think those were two massive plays that sparked us and that's a tough job to go out there and drop the gloves and putting your body on the line for the team and us guys on the bench, if we're not stepping up and doing our part it's almost insulting to those guys who are making that sacrifice and you saw the way we responded," O'Reilly said. "We came out (with a) jump. We were physical. That's a huge statement by those guys."
Interim head coach Craig Berube earned his first win at the Blues' helm. The team has played with noticeable grit since Berube took over.
"I think it is a statement for us," O'Reilly said. "It shows that it's a big lesson for us that shows when we show up this way we can beat a really good hockey team, and we can easily be up there at the top of the league. We have to get the lessons from it and understand that. Again we're happy with the victory but we've got work tomorrow. We have a tough, really good team coming in here too. We have to come out and fight and crawl because playing back-to-back it's going to be tougher."
The Jets will also be playing their second game in as many days after losing at Minnesota 4-2 on Friday. Winnipeg (12-7-2) has won only one of its last four games, but has already beaten the Blues twice this season.
Jets forward Andrew Copp left the game against the Wild in the third period after getting taken hard into the boards. No update was available after the game.
Jets right winger Blake Wheeler said the team needs to do a better job of handling adversity on the road.
"The sky isn't falling. On the road, there are going to be momentum changes," Wheeler told NHL.com. "They're probably going to score a goal -- more than likely -- we just have to face that adversity and do a little better job with that."
Updated November 24, 2018