Saturday, 15 April 2017

NHL - Blues - Round Up - March 15-23, 2017

Blues @ Anaheim Sucks 1-2 - Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Jonathan Bernier made 26 saves to help the Anaheim Ducks end the St. Louis Blues winning streak at five with a 2-1 victory at Honda Center. Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and an assist for the Ducks (37-23-10), who are two points ahead of the Calgary Flames for second place in the Pacific Division and seven points behind the San Jose Sharks for first. Rookie forward Ivan Barbashev scored midway through the third period for the Blues (36-28-5), who are four points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. The Blues never trailed during their winning streak, but it was the Ducks who took a 1-0 lead at 5:42 of the first period and never trailed. Getzlaf redirected a loose puck into the slot, where Rickard Rakell one-timed it past goalie Jake Allen for his Ducks-leading 30th goal. Getzlaf scored shorthanded at 6:37 of the second to make it 2-0. Anaheim forward Andrew Cogliano got loose on a breakaway but lost the puck as he entered the St. Louis zone. Colton Parayko, Nail Yakupov and Barbashev were rushing back for the Blues, but each skated past the puck. Cogliano got it back and dropped it off for a trailing Getzlaf, who shot past Allen into the left corner.
Getzlaf has 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in the past seven games.
St. Louis was whistled for the first of its five minor penalties 46 seconds into the game when Jaden Schwartz was called for hooking Sami Vatanen. Its first penalty kill started poorly when forward Alexander Steen broke his stick trying to clear the puck after blocking Cam Fowler's shot from the point. The Blues penalty kill, fourth-best in the NHL since Feb. 1 (88.7 percent), went 5-for-5.

* Barbashev skated into the right side of the Anaheim zone and dropped the puck off for Magnus Paajarvi cutting into the middle. Barbashev pulled up near the left faceoff circle, and Paajarvi backhanded a pass through three Ducks to Barbashev, who scored his third NHL goal in his 17th game.
"We didn't start the game great. We started playing with 10 minutes left in the game. That's why we lost." Ivan Barbashev
"The push came too late. Not only did we not generate momentum and get enough attempts to the net, but we also gave them a shorthanded goal. Obviously, that was a big difference in the game there." Mike Yeo said.
"We were getting frustrated with ourselves a bit. We weren't playing a bad game, but we were getting too emotional within ourselves." Paul Stastny said.

Blues @ Phoenix Coyotes 3-0 - Saturday, March 18, 2017

Jake Allen made 31 saves to help the St. Louis Blues to a 3-0 win against the Coyotes. Alex Pietrangelo Scottie Upshall and David Perron scored for the Blues (38-28-5), who have won seven of their past eight games and pulled even with the Nashville Predators for third place in the Central Division. The Predators lost to the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2 on Saturday. St. Louis is 14-7-0 since Mike Yeo replaced Ken Hitchcock on Feb. 2, and five of the wins have been shutouts. The Blues have allowed 29 even-strength goals in its past 21 games, the fewest in the NHL. The Blues have defeated the Coyotes nine straight times, outscoring them 38-12. They are 12-0-1 in their past 13 games against the Coyotes. Mike Smith made 38 saves and denied Vladimir Tarasenko on a penalty shot with 45.6 seconds left in the second period. The Coyotes (26-36-9) were outshot 16-3 in the first period and had their point streak end at five games. Coyotes defenseman Anthony DeAngelo was given a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for boarding Blues forward Zach Sanford from behind 1:56 into the game. The Coyotes killed all but three seconds of the penalty before the Blues capitalized. Pietrangelo's shot from against the far boards eluded Smith and found the top corner at 6:53 of the first period. It was his 10th goal of the season. Perron scored a shorthanded empty-net goal with 1:03 remaining.

* Upshall lost the puck initially but tracked it down in the slot and put a whirling shot through traffic and past Smith at 2:52 of the second period to make it 2-0.

"I just liked the way we looked tonight. We're stepping up to the occasion and guys are pulling their weight. The contributions are all though the lineup, we're getting great leadership, great goaltending. When it comes together at this time of the year, it gets pretty exciting." Upshall said.
"We're playing with confidence, but we don't have a choice. In previous years, we were already at 100 points and in the playoffs. Now everything is up in the air and we have to win." said Allen
"We got the shutout tonight, but [Allen] had to be outstanding to get it." Mike Yeo.

Blues @ Colorado Avalanche 4-2 - Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The St. Louis Blues moved into a third-place tie with the Nashville Predators in the Central Division with a 4-2 victory against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center. Patrik Berglund scored twice, Magnus Paajarvi and Jaden Schwartz once, and Jake Allen made 26 saves for the Blues (39-28-5), who won for the eighth time in the past nine games. St. Louis went 4-1-0 on its five-game road trip. Mark Barberio and John Mitchell scored for the Avalanche (20-49-3), who have lost three consecutive games. Paajarvi tipped Ivan Barbashev's shot past goalie Calvin Pickard at 5:05 of the third period for his sixth goal to put the Blues ahead 2-1. Schwartz knocked in his own rebound at 8:44 to make it 3-1 with his 15th goal, first in 15 games. Berglund scored his second goal of the game and 21st of the season into an empty net with 48 seconds left after Colorado's Nathan MacKinnon rang a shot off the crossbar with 1:09 to play. The Avalanche closed to 3-2 when Barberio beat Allen from the lower left circle at 14:50 for his second goal. Berglund tied the game 1-1 at 16:50 of the second period. Mitchell gave the Avalanche a 1-0 lead at 5:32 of the first period with his third goal, first in 19 games. Allen made a big stop against Matt Nieto at 3:58. Matt Duchene carried the puck on a 2-on-1 rush and passed to Nieto cutting to the net for a backhand that Allen gloved.

* Forward David Perron won a battle for the puck in the left corner, enabling the Blues to gain possession to set up Berglund's second-period goal. Zach Sanford made a touch pass to Berglund in the slot for a point-blank shot.
"He had a real strong game," Yeo said. "Every game he's gaining confidence from us as a coaching staff and he's showing he's a responsible player."
* The Blues won all three games against the Avalanche this season and are 6-1-2 in the past nine at Pepsi Center ... Allen is 6-1-0 in his past seven starts ... The Avalanche were 0-for-3 on power plays and are 2-for-44 in the past 18 games.

"I think we were all a little tired from this whole trip. It's been a long trip and we are all ready to go home, but to find a way to get two points was huge. I wanted to give us a chance to win and I thought I did that. I thought I played well and our guys responded." Jake Allen
"At a crucial time the guys delivered. We lose [center Paul Stastny] and we don't have a good start at the end of a road trip, so that was a real character win for us." Schwartz said.
"We're all happy for him. It's almost impossible to play as well as he has and not score goals. We told him that first one was going to come around that blue paint and it was good for him to get that monkey off his back."
"We came in expecting a better start and they smacked us pretty good with their game and it took us a while to regroup, but while we were taking that time Jake was unreal and gave us a chance."
"I don't think it'll be anything serious at all [Stastny missed the final two periods because of a foot injury, but it wasn't from getting hit on a shot by Vladimir Tarasenko]. It was not the shot. That hurt, but it was not that. It was just he tweaked something and I expect him to be ready for next game." Mike Yeo said.

Vancouver Canucks @ Blues 1-4 - Thursday, March 23, 2017

The St. Louis Blues kept pace in the Central Division and Western Conference playoff races with a 4-1 win against the Vancouver Canucks at Scottrade Center.
The Blues (40-28-5) won their fourth straight and ninth in 10 games. St. Louis is tied with the Nashville Predators for third place in the division and trail the Calgary Flames by one point for the first Western wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Nashville defeated Calgary 3-1. Magnus Paajarvi scored twice, Alex Pietrangelo had a goal and an assist, and Kyle Brodziak scored. Allen made 27 saves and is 7-1-0 in his past eight starts after losing four in a row. Henrik Sedin scored, and Ryan Miller made 30 saves for the Canucks (29-35-9), who played the third of a five-game road trip. Vancouver trails St. Louis and Nashville by 18 points for a Western wild card. The Canucks took a 1-0 lead when Sedin scored 13:38 into the first period. Paajarvi tied it 1-1, following his shot after a Miller save at 17:32. Brodziak gave the Blues a 2-1 lead with a wrist shot high-blocker-side from the high slot at 17:13 of the second period. Paajarvi's second, his eighth of the season, put the Blues up 3-1 at 9:41 of the third period. The Canucks challenged for offside but the goal was upheld. Pietrangelo made it 4-1 with an empty-net goal at 17:25.

* Pietrangelo picked off Christopher Tanev's stretch pass, carried it into the Canucks zone and dropped it to Brodziak, who beat Miller with a pinpoint shot in the top left-hand corner.
* Blues forward Ivan Barbashev kept in Alexander Edler's clearing attempt at the blue line, and Nail Yakupov was able to get the puck to Barbashev, who passed to Paajarvi in the slot from distance.
"Great play by them," Paajarvi said. "[Yakupov] kicked it out of the air and [Barbashev] made a great play to me. Took two shots to beat [Miller], but yeah."
* The Blues played without center Paul Stastny, who is week to week after sustaining a lower-body injury Tuesday against the Colorado Avalanche. ... Paajarvi's two-goal game was his second in the NHL (Feb. 5, 2011 for the Edmonton Oilers). ... Canucks center Bo Horvat won 67 percent of his faceoffs (16 of 24).

"We'll figure out what happens after 82 [games] and go from there. We've got a good thing going and hopefully we can keep it going. ... Once 82 is done April 9, we'll see where we are." Jake Allen said.
"We need a lot of guys to step up, and obviously we got that from Jake, we got that from some of our top guys, and then you look at what [Paajarvi] did and other guys did as far as raising their game, and getting the goals is part of it... I thought we had a collective group effort that guys were ready to step up tonight." Mike Yeo said.
"We're finding ways to win. We're going to need more of that this time of year. We're not really looking at the streaks that we're on. We're just kind of playing every game taking it day by day." Alex Pietrangelo.

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