The Blues suffered a frustrating loss to the Florida Panthers Monday night, falling 2-1 on a goal with 4.6 seconds to play. (Bill Greenblatt/UPI)

By Rob Rains

The Blues were five seconds away from getting Monday night’s game to overtime and earning at least one point on a night when they did not play particularly well. 

Vincent Trocheck made certain that didn’t happen.

Trocheck got a shot through traffic which goalie Jake Allen never saw with just 4.6 seconds remaining in regulation, lifting the Florida Panthers to a 2-1 victory over the Blues at Scottrade Center.

The win completed the first 5-0 road trip for the Panthers in franchise history and was their eighth win in their last nine games.

“It was strong cycling down low,” Trocheck said of the final play. “They threw it out top to me, I had a lane; I don’t think Allen saw it. I just kind of did the easy work and stayed up top while everybody else kind of grinded it out.”

The goal was Trocheck’s 21st of the season and came after the Panthers were able to keep the puck in the offensive zone for more than 30 seconds as the Blues were not able to clear the puck down the ice and get the game to overtime.

“Terrible finish,” Allen said. “We had 30 seconds left to salvage a point in a game that we played not good. Those are huge points right now. Could have ended up with two points and it slipped away.”

The biggest reason for that was the Blues’ inability to get the puck out of their zone in the closing seconds.
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“There were opportunities to jump on loose pucks, there were opportunities to kill the play, and that didn’t happen,” said coach Mike Yeo.

The loss came in the final game for the Blues before the league-mandated break in their schedule, with their next game not coming until Sunday night.

“We should have have a bad taste in our mouth for a couple days,” said Yeo. “We’ve got this break now and what I hope happens is we take some time to think about our situation as far as finishing off the season, and the situation that we’re in.”

Allen took the loss hard, as did his teammates.

“They had a lot of pressure on us in the last minute and we’ve got to find ways to get the puck out and we didn’t,” said Scottie Upshall. “Those games are big. They definitely sting.”

The Panthers, like the Blues fighting for a playoff spot, had protected a 1-0 lead on a goal by Jonathan Marchessault midway through the first period until the Blues tied it on a goal by Kyle Brodziak 2:54 into the third period.

The Blues failed to use that goal to change the momentum in the game, however, letting the Panthers continue to dictate the play as they had for most of the first two periods. The Blues had only three shots on goal in the second period.

“We stayed with our game, we stayed positive, we stayed aggressive and we’re able to get that goal late,” Trocheck said.

The loss kept the Blues in third place in the Central Division, three points ahead of the idle Nashville Predators. The Blues have played two more games than the Predators, who play four times between Tuesday night and Sunday while the Blues are idle.

NOTES:
The Blues activated Paul Stastny off injured reserve before the game. He missed the previous four games because of a lower-body injury. ... Left winger Alexander Steen played in his 800th career game. ... Eight players on the Blues' roster were not born when Panthers RW Jaromir Jagr played his first game in the NHL on Oct. 5, 1990. Jagr, at 45, is even two years older than Blues coach Mike Yeo. ... The Blues won’t play again until Sunday night against the Blackhawks in Chicago.