Ottawa Senators at St. Louis Blues on Nov. 19. 2010

Which team will bounce back from a blowout?

Ottawa Senators at St. Louis Blues on Nov. 19. 2010
General Manager Bryan Murray is deep in thought as the Ottawa Senators practice at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, March 19, 2014, . (Photo by Wayne Cuddington/ Ottawa Citizen)

THE STORY: Which team will bounce back from a blowout? The Senators and Blues each allowed seven goals against on Wednesday night, continuing what are becoming lengthy slides (Ottawa has lost three of four, while St. Louis has dropped five straight). Fans in both cities are likely wondering whether these are the regular types of slumps one can expect over the course of an 82 game schedule, or if they’re indicative of bigger problems.

THE SUBPLOTS: The Senators will be happy to return home after what has been a very long week. They managed to pick up a win in the first of four straight games on the road (a 2-0 victory against Boston last Saturday), but the strains of an emotionally and physically draining week showed in their 7-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday. Will they be able to find the energy reserves to finish strong before returning to Scotiabank Place to face the Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles Kings?

THE OPPONENT: After starting the season playing like Stanley Cup contenders, the Blues have been sounding a little flat lately. They’ve been outscored 29-12 in over their five consecutive losses and looked terrible all around. Meanwhile, the once-unbeatable Jaroslav Halak is looking human again and some of his most talented teammates have suffered major injuries. Yikes.

THE QUOTE: “We just have to move forward. We just have to realize that the last two games have not been close to good enough, for whatever reason. We can’t make excuses. We know we went through a tough couple of days, but we just have to put our best foot forward and be much better. Your head and emotions have to be in order before anything can happen on the ice. You can X and O it to death, but if you’re not ready, you’re not going to be able to go out and execute.” — Senators coach Cory Clouston on what his troops must do to regroup.

THE SICK BAY: Senators — No injuries. Blues — D Roman Polak, wrist surgery, indefinite). W David Perron (concussion, indefinite). D Barrett Jackman (knee, indefinite). W T.J. Oshie (ankle surgery, indefinite).

THE PREDICTION: This will almost certainly go down as the toughest week of the year for the Ottawa Senators, both on and off the ice. Three road games against good opponents — plus an unexpected trip home to support assistant coach Luke Richardson and his family — have clearly worn them out, and they still have one more to go. The Blues have been bad, but I think they’ll prevail in a low-scoring affair as Halak and Brian Elliott make up for their weak outings of late. Senators 1, Blues 2.

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