The St Louis Blues entered tonight’s game on a two game winning streak and playing possibly their best hockey of the young season. The bad news for the Blues, they would be without TJ Oshie (concussion) and David Backes (concussion), as well as Paul Stastny, who’s still dealing with an upper-body injury. Without three US Olympians in the lineup, the Blues would welcome the Western Conference leading Anaheim Ducks to the Gateway City. St Louis was going to need a complete game from their defense if they would stand a chance against the high-flying Ducks.
At the 4:29 mark in the first period, the great passing Lehtera line got things going as Carl Gunnarsson ripped one from the point. The shot nicked off the leg of Alex Steen and found the net, giving the Blues a 1-0 lead. Steen was credited with the goal while Shattenkirk and Gunnarsson were tabbed with assists.
Steen’s goal would be the only one in the opening period. The Lehtera-Tarasenko-Steen line combined to put five shots on goal in the frame. Jake Allen shunned away all 13 shots against him in the period, which would become the theme of the evening for Allen.
1:06 into the second period, Jori Lehtera up-ended Corey Perry and was called for a two-minute tripping minor, sending him to the penalty box and Perry limping to the locker room. Perry would return to the bench shortly after. Anaheim failed to put a single shot on goal during the power play.
Through two periods, the St Louis Blues defense was stout, allowing only four shots to get to Jake Allen in the second frame. St Louis appeared to have all of the momentum, ending the period heavily attacking the Ducks for the final five minutes.
2:03 into the third, Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler whiffed on a pass in front of his own net. Maxim LaPierre picked it up, dished to Ryan Reeves who wristed one from the slot, beating John Gibson to give the Blues a 2-0 lead. The goal would be Reeves’ second goal in his last three games.
At the 7:03 mark in the third, Dmitrij Jaskin was called for a two minute holding minor. With 20 seconds left in the power play, Jay Boumeester would get called for a delay of game, giving Anaheim a five-on-three power play. For the 20 seconds of being down two men, Jake Allen was brilliant, bailing out the Blues short-handed defense. With 35 seconds left on the Ducks power play, Anaheim would be called for too many men on the ice. Jake Allen and the Blues dominated yet another Anaheim power play.
With 2:48 to go in regulation, the Ducks pulled their goalie and went with six attackers. With 48 seconds left, Barret Jackman was called for holding and was sent to the sin bin, giving the Ducks a two-man advantage. The Blues disadvantage wouldn’t matter too much, as Jake Allen went on the pitch his second career shutout. Allen was named player of the game as he denied all 24 Anaheim shot attempts.
The Blues are proving that the best defense is a good defense. This game is the third win in a row for St Louis, all against playoff teams from a season ago. Anaheim falls to 8-3-0, but retains top seeding in the Western Conference with 16 points. St Louis improves to 5-3-1 and gain two more points, giving the Blues 11 on the season.
The schedule doesn’t get any easier. St Louis will take a one game road trip to Colorado this Saturday to face the Avalanche. The puck drops at 7 PM CST and can be seen on FS-MW and heard on KMOX 1120.
– Photo by Jeff Curry/NHLI via Getty Images