Dallas, TX – All good things must come to an end.
That was the story as the St. Louis Blues’ (32-22-5) historic 11-game winning streak was snapped Thursday night at American Airlines Center in a 2-5 loss to the Dallas Stars (29-25-5). The Blues’ defense would crumble in the second period, allowing four goals on eight shots and handing Jordan Binnington’s second career loss.
Despite the lethargic second period, the Blues still responded well with goals from their top line (notably absent of Brayden Schenn) and 45 shots on net. Anton Khudobin, however, would stand tall for his club and earn them a crucial two points in the Central division, putting the Stars just four points away from the Blues. The Stars improved to 30-25-5 while the Blues would take their first loss in February, falling to 32-23-5.
The Blues and Stars played a solid opening 20 minutes, and despite being scoreless the Blues had better scoring chances. Defensively, the Blues were sloppier than usual; with five giveaways in the opening stanza. However, the play of Jordan Binnington and the second defensive efforts by the Blues would keep the puck out of the net.
Dallas had their fair share of giveaways as well, but likewise with St. Louis, goaltender Anton Khudobin would keep his team above water. Jay Bouwmeester would be charged with the first penalty of the game, and Jason Spezza would later take a penalty for the Stars, but neither team would capitalize, ending the period 0-0. St. Louis would have the shots on goal advantage, 12-8.
The Blues would fail to answer the push made by Dallas in the opening, and the Stars punished the Blues heavily for more sloppy and sluggish defensive play. Jamie Benn would net his 20th of the season early at 3:46 and give his team a 1-0 lead, with Miro Heiskanen and Radek Faksa tallying assists. This would be the first time the Blues would trail in a game in over 500 minutes of play.
Dallas would only continue stepping on the gas, when a neutral zone turnover by Colton Parayko would contribute to Radek Faksa’s second point of the evening with his tenth goal of the season. Esa Lindell and Blake Comeau, who returned to the lineup after injury tonight, added helpers. Down 2-0, the Blues would still make lazy plays defensively, and only 57 seconds later Alexander Radulov would punish the Blues again, burying his 16th.
Tyler Seguin was awarded the lone assist. Shortly after Bouwmeester would take another penalty but Colton Parayko would have enough, dropping the gloves with Brett Ritchie. Ritchie would draw a roughing penalty bringing the game to 4-on-4 hockey for a minute. St. Louis would finally regain some traction; as the Blues powerplay began, Ryan O’Reilly earned his 39th assist making a solid pass to Tarasenko directly on Khudobin’s doorstep, and no. 91 would net no. 27 and make it 3-1 at 12:57.
Dallas would not be phased; the captain Benn, who had not scored in 10 games prior, would net his second of the evening at 15:56 to try and put the Blues morale down for good. Down 4-1, however, Ryan O’Reilly showed no fear, as he found the rebound of a Bouwmeester shot in the dying ticks of the second period to cut the Stars’ lead back down to 2.
Schwartz would be awarded the second assist on the play. St. Louis would enter the locker room trailing in the second period looking to surge back, something they’ve only done twice all season. Despite the deficit, the Blues would still outshoot Dallas 30-16 through two.
The Blues would come out with the furious play that earned them a franchise-leading 11-game winning streak in the third period, and Dallas would be right there to match them. Much heavier board play would constrict both squads from any easy chances. The Blues failed to convert on the power play and would later take an all-too-familiar Too Many Men penalty but would contribute to a great shorthanded chance for the captain Alex Pietrangelo.
With the game on the line, coach Craig Berube would pull Jordan Binnington in the final 3:30 of the game to bring a sixth attacker. Despite some great chances by the Blues the execution could not pay off, Khudobin played solidly in net, and Tyler Seguin made a diving saucer at center to seal the deal with an empty net goal at 19:16. The Blues would finish the game outshooting Dallas through all three periods, 45-25.
The Blues’ certainly voiced their frustration after the loss. “We can be better than that,” said coach Craig Berube to the media after the game. “We weren’t good enough, that’s the bottom line.” Centerman Ryan O’Reilly voiced the same frustrations: We didn’t play a good enough game. That’s the frustrating one. I think we’re a better team… and we didn’t prove it tonight.”
St. Louis will head to the east coast for a 3:30 pm ET matinee matchup against the Boston Bruins on Saturday, while the Dallas Stars will face the Hurricanes at 5:00 pm ET the same day. Ways to listen and watch those games are listed here:
STL @ BOS – FSMW, NESN, KMOX, WHLL, NHL.tv
CAR @ DAL – FSCR, FSSW, WCMC, KTCK, NHL.tv
Brayden Schenn was sidelined earlier this morning with an upper-body injury; his status is unknown… The Blues had won eight consecutive road victories prior to tonight’s contest… The Blues were either tied or ahead of their competition for 517:28 leading up to tonight, the eighth-longest streak since the ’67 expansion…
The Blues have not won against Dallas at home in 11 straight games… Tyler Seguin now has eight goals in his last nine games in February… Dallas ranks 2nd in the league in GAA (1st NYI)… Blues recalled forward Sammy Blais today in anticipation of Schenn’s injury… The Blues-Maple Leafs game Tuesday earned a 7.7 Nielsen rating in STL, the highest-rated regular season Blues game to date
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