The Blues gave up four goals in the first period to the Arizona Coyotes en route to a 5-2 loss at Scottrade Center. (St. Louis Blues)

By Rob Rains

One of the loudest ovations in the first period of the Blues’ game against the Arizona Coyotes Saturday night at Scottrade Center came when public address announcer Tom Calhoun told the sold-out crowd there was one minute remaining in the period.

It was that bad of a period for the Blues, and the second and third periods didn’t get much better.

The Blues gave up four goals in the opening 20 minutes to the worst team in the NHL, getting outshot 23-7, in what ended up as a 5-2 loss.

It was far from the result they expected, coming off back-to-back wins in Toronto and Ottawa and going with Carter Hutton again in goal, riding a 5-0-1 streak and having given up just one goal each in the two games in Canada.

The Blues’ defense forgot to show up in front of Hutton, however, as the Coyotes scored three times on their first 12 shots and chased Hutton from the net just 7:06 into the game. There was little Hutton could do to stop any of the goals, and on his way down the tunnel, he slammed his stick to the floor.

Jake Allen, trying to sort through his own problems, took over and allowed a bad goal to complete the four-goal period.

“There’s no explanation for it to be perfectly honest,” said coach Mike Yeo. “It’s got to be unacceptable to them (the players). That’s the reality. … It’s in the preparation. For whatever reason when you’re not ready to work, that’s the result tonight.

“The start was very disappointing but then the response to the start was even more disappointing to be honest with you. At some point you’ve got to get pissed off and it didn’t feel there was a lot of that there. It didn’t feel like the emotional investment was there from the drop of the puck and we were just a little bit too OK with what was going on.”

Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, the team captain, was on the ice for three of the first-period goals and took the blame for the loss.

“I was no good, we were no good,” Pietrangelo said. “It’s just not acceptable on our part, especially at home. If I knew the answer it wouldn’t happen; I just know it’s not good enough. It starts with me, it’s just not good enough.”

Vladimir Tarasenko called the loss embarrassing.

“It was embarrassing. We can’t give up a 4-0 lead at home,” Tarasenko said. “There are no excuses for us for tonight’s game.”

The lead reached 5-0 before Brayden Schenn scored his 19th goal of the midway through the second period and Alexander Steen scored in the third period, both on the power play, but that wasn’t enough to keep the Coyotes from snapping a 12-game losing streak to the Blues and earn their first regulation win over the Blues in 17 games dating back to April 6, 2012.

At a time in the season where points are going to start becoming critical, especially in the ultra-tight Central Division, this was a bad loss for the Blues.

“It’s pretty simple, you look at our division and what’s going on around the league and you’d think you would come to the rink and know you can control two things, your attitude and your work ethic, and you think the desperation would be there,” Yeo said. “This is a group which has won a lot and winning doesn’t come easy. And I can’t imagine we’ve forgotten the investment that’s required. I can’t imagine we’ve forgotten that.

“It was a pretty harsh reminder tonight.”

Both Winnipeg and Nashville won on Saturday, and the Blues’ hold on third place in the division is becoming precarious. Their total of 59 points is one ahead of Dallas and four ahead of Colorado, which has played four fewer games than the Blues.

“If we think that we can play two good games and then just not show up for one, that’s just not the way things are going to work from here to the rest of the year,” Yeo said. “I don’t know if we think we are good enough to get by with half effort or working hard two out of three games. That’s not the way it’s going to work. We have a lot of guys inside our room who know that.”