'Kid' Kyrou jumpstarts the Blues' offense

by 24USATVMay 10, 2022, 3 a.m. 22
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They all have different personalities. Different strengths and weaknesses. Different egos and needs. His job is to keep them all motivated, growing, and producing. Some need more attention than others.

Much to the bewilderment of Berube, Kyrou might have done even more damage on the scoreboard. He had maybe three or four other excellent looks wherein which instead of shooting he decided to pass — and things didn’t work out.

“Yeah, he could’ve had maybe four (goals), but maybe he just wanted to score two,” Berube said, smiling. “I don’t know. He doesn’t want to give us too much too early. I was on the bench saying the same thing.”

With the crowd noise and all, Berube said the players usually can’t hear him anyway while they’re on the ice. So he waits until they return to the bench to get the message across.

“I thought that he was on his toes. He was challenging people one on one, that’s his game. And he did that. It was really nice to see him get a couple goals. The followup to the rebound — it’s a nice goal. He didn’t quit on the play.”

That was a reference to the first goal of the game, which Kyrou scored on the rebound of his own shot. Berube has been preaching most of the series that the Blues need to get to the net, and work for second and third opportunities. That goal was a textbook example of what can happen when you do just that.

It gave the Blues a 1-0 lead, and getting the lead has been more critical than ever so far in these playoffs. The team that scores first has won all four games so far in the Blues-Wild series. Leaguewide, the team that scores first was 24-4 in the postseason entering Monday’s contests.

Despite all the focus on the Blues’ goaltending situation and injuries on defense, what the Blues do best is score goals. And with the work of Kyrou and others, the got back to their scoring ways after a two-game lull.

The challenge for the Blues entering Game 5, on Tuesday night in St. Paul, Minn., is to broaden their scoring and make the most of their much-touted balance and depth. So far, David Perron (five goals), Kyrou (three) and Ryan O’Reilly (three) have combined for 11 of the 12 goals scored by St. Louis in the series.

Even with only a few players scoring goals, the Blues have kept their power play humming — with at least one goal in all four games. Granted, the Blues didn’t cash in on a four-minute power play after yet another high-sticking penalty by Minnesota’s Kevin Fiala in the first period Sunday. But Berube liked the tone set by the unit.

“Well, that (O’Reilly) line did a great job against those guys,” Berube said. “It’s a battle. You’ve got to just battle and you’re not going to get a lot of looks offensively. You just got to stay with it. And it’s important not to get frustrated by it or try to make something that’s not there at the time because then you make mistakes.”

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