(Photo: Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)
ST LOUIS BLUES (28-22-5)
AT ARIZONA COYOTES (25-26-5)
BLUES CONTINUE HOT STREAK WITH DOMINANT 8TH STRAIGHT VICTORY OVER ARIZONA, 4-0
The Blues win a pivotal 8th consecutive victory and earned Binnington his 3rd career shutout in just 15 professional games after a 4-0 victory against the Arizona Coyotes. Vladimir Tarasenko extended his point streak to a career-best 10 games with his 23rd and 24th goals of the season, while Joel Edmundson and Robert Bortuzzo both added tallies.
Jordan Binnington improves to an astounding 11-1-1 in his rookie season, making 21 saves and improving his club’s record to 29-22-5, propelling them into 3rd place in the Central Division.
The Blues got off to an early jump against the Coyotes with the first line generating a quick chance for Ryan O’Reilly for the opening shot of the game. Though coach Craig Berube would like a more offensive start from the Blues, St. Louis remained frustrating along the board and their own blue line to create much more offensive time.
The first goal would come off of Joel Edmundson’s stick at 3:33 for his second goal of the season and first in 48 games; Alex Steen and Jaden Schwartz each tallying an assist. Later, Tarasenko would extend his point streak to a career-best 10 games with a deflection from Joel Edmundson’s point shot.
This marked Edmundson’s second multi-point game of the season. Oskar Sundkvist helped begin the sequence with a solid offensive pass to tally an assist. Arizona had few chances in the opening (only 2) and Binnington was hardly challenged in his cage. St. Louis outshot Arizona through the first 20 7-6.
The Coyotes started with a more energetic 2nd period opening, but the forechecking work done by St. Louis helped keep shots out of the net and out of high scoring areas as well. The ice would open up after the first penalty in the game was called on Arizona’s Jacob Chychrun at 5:20.
The teams would swap penalties with no success as Pat Maroon would be called later for a cross-check. The next penalty would come (rather questionably) to Arizona’s Niklas Hjalmarsson at 15:46 in the second, where Tarasenko found the back of the net off a quick wrister for his 2nd goal of the night, 24th of the season, and the Blues’ second powerplay goal in 16 games.
Brayden Schenn and Zach Sanford would be awarded assists on Tarasenko’s 9th powerplay goal to make it 3-0 St. Louis. The Blues would kill off Sundkvist’s hooking minor in the final minutes of the second period to keep Arizona off the board.
The Blues would keep their foot on the gas as the defense provides offense for the 16th goal from a D-man since Jan. 1. Robert Bortuzzo tacks on his second goal of the season in 35 games played off a point blast with helpers from his partner Vince Dunn and Oskar Sundkvist.
Arizona would get another powerplay from a hooking minor charged to Pietrangelo, but despite top forwards like Keller, Galchenyuk, and Ekman-Larsson (all with 3 shots apiece), Jordan Binnington would stand tall and the Blues defense would help with the rest. Binnington would remain perfect through the remainder of the period to earn his 3rd shutout and 7th consecutive victory with the Blues.
“I’m really just excited about where the team’s headed, and it’s fun to be a part of this team right now” said Binnington after the Blues’ win. “Everyone’s playing hard for each other and they’re selfless, and when you’re doing that and the team’s winning, everything’s better… it’s good to be a goaltender in those situations.”
The Blues improve to 29-22-5, earning themselves the 3rd spot in the Central division standings, 10 points behind the 2nd place Nashville Predators. Arizona fall to 25-27-5, two points out of the second wild card spot in the Western Conference. Jordan Binnington improves to 11-1-1 with a 1.000 SV% on the evening while Darcy Kuemper falls to 13-15-5, allowing 4 goals on 24 shots for a .833 SV%.