Blues Bounce Back, Win 4-3 in Dallas

DALLAS, TX – Blues celebrate a Tyler Bozak goal in the 2nd period Monday night in Dallas. (Tony Gutierrez/AP photo)

The St. Louis Blues bounced back to take a 2-1 series lead over the Dallas Stars with a thrilling 4-3 victory on the road Monday night.

As both teams try to find a way to stop the other’s top line, it was the secondary scoring for the Blues that made the difference. Goals from Jaden Schwartz, Tyler Bozak, Alex Pietrangelo, and Pat Maroon might not be who you’d expect to see on the score sheet, but it’s the depth that we talked about back in March that makes this Blues team so dangerous.

Depth Scoring Big Plus for Blues (March 26, 2019)

FIRST PERIOD

It’s always important to strike first, and the Blues did that tonight. Just one minute and 27 seconds into the first period Colton Parayko wound up for a big shot from the point. Schwartz was crossing in front and got his stick blade on the rising puck. The deflection went up and over Ben Bishop‘s blocker side and was in the net before the big goalie could locate the puck.

The goal was Schwartz’ 6th of the playoffs after only managing 11 goals in the regular season. As the old saying goes, ‘it’s better late than never.’ Ryan O’Reilly got the other assist on the goal.

The score remained 1-0 until the 17:12 mark. In the final seconds of a Dallas power play, Alexander Radulov notched his 5th goal of the playoffs on a nifty pass from Jason Spezza to tie it up 1-1. The Blues had an opportunity to clear the puck just before this play, but couldn’t get their sticks on it the way they needed to get it out of their zone. Dallas took advantage.

SECOND PERIOD

Early in the middle period, it seemed as if momentum was on Dallas’ side. Jay Bouwmeester misplayed the puck in the first minute and served a two-minute penalty for delay of game. The penalty kill unit did their job and didn’t allow a shot on goal, but Dallas pushed hard in the first half of the period. Jordan Binnington stopped several quality chances.

St. Louis broke the tie at the 8:30 mark when some of the Blues youngsters put on a clinic of skating and puck possession. 2nd-year defenseman Vince Dunn skated circles around Mattias Janmark to create some space. He found 19-year old Robert Thomas in the faceoff circle to Bishop’s left. Thomas unleashed a quick wrist shot, and Bishop couldn’t find the handle. The puck trickled through, and Bozak was waiting to pounce. Bozak found the puck lying behind Bishop and poked it home to give the Blues a 2-1 lead.

The next significant play was a turnover in the Blues offensive zone which led to a breakaway for Radulov on Binnington. As has been the story for much of the past four months, Binnington shut the door and denied Dallas’ leading goal-scorer in the playoffs from tying the score.

The line of Thomas, Bozak, and Maroon looks to have found their game again in this series. Possessing the puck and wearing down the opponent is what this line is all about and they’re doing it nicely.

LATE PERIOD THREATS

Dallas threatened late in the period with a breakaway during a line change by the Blues. Carl Gunnarsson got back just in time to lift a stick and help out his rookie goaltender. It was a slick play by the wily veteran Gunnarsson.

Dallas had a power-play opportunity late in the period but could not manage a shot on goal. During their power play, there was some theatrics as Robert Bortuzzo was engaged in some physical play with Dallas defenseman Essa Lindell. Bortuzzo, playing in his first game of the series in place of Joel Edmundson always brings that gritty-ness to the ice. He ended up serving a penalty for cross-checking, but Lindell was also sent off for ’embellishment’ as he fell, not once, but three times upon contact with Bortuzzo.

Bozak had another excellent scoring chance in the final minutes. Although the Dallas defender rode his back on his way to the net, he still managed to get a shot on goal and then poked at his rebound which just slid wide of an open net.

Through two periods the Blues led 2-1 and had outshot the Stars 25-21.

THIRD PERIOD

St. Louis got an opportunity to add to their lead when Roman Polak was called for a high stick as he tried to stop Thomas from skating around him at center ice. However, Dallas managed to get a two on one breakaway and scored a short-handed goal to knot things at two goals apiece at the 13:06 mark.

The play developed as it looked like Brayden Schenn was tripped and lost the puck to Dallas in the Blues offensive zone. There was no whistle as Janmark and Andrew Cogliano raced the other way. Binnington stopped the initial shot by Janmark, but Cogliano found it on the backside and poked it into the net.

BREAK THE TIE

St. Louis reclaimed the lead just a minute and 18 seconds later when Alex Pietrangelo scored his first goal of the postseason. He had hit a crossbar just moments earlier, but his second chance hit nothing but net.

The one-timer from the point was turning end over end and looked like a flying saucer out of sync. It beat Bishop on his short side, over his shoulder. St. Louis led 3-2.

If you thought three goals would be enough tonight, you were wrong. Dallas scored again at the 15:52 mark to tie the score again. They would not go away. This time it was Tyler Seguin with the goal. The Blues looked like they were exiting the zone but Pietrangelo’s pass to Ryan O’Reilly missed the mark, and the Stars kept it inside the blue line. A quick pass or two found Seguin near the net and the Blues defense trying to get back. The game was tied again 3-3.

GAME WINNER

Remember how we said the Bozak line was finding their game? Well, who would you expect to get the game-winner? If you guessed someone on the Bozak line, you’d be correct. This time it was Maroon who found a way to score around his off-season pal, Bishop.

Bouwmeester caromed a shot off the boards to a waiting Maroon who was camped out in his spot near the net. The ‘Big Rig’ shuffled in front of the net and lifted it under the arm on Bishop’s stick side and into the top of the net. Maroon stood there for a moment before lifting his arms in celebration as if he couldn’t believe it went in.

The crowd at the American Airlines Center couldn’t believe it either. They had seen their Stars battle back, not once but twice, tying the game at 2-2 and then 3-3, and then going down 4-3 on the Maroon goal with just 1:38 left on the clock.

As they tried to close out the final minute, the Blues found themselves a man down on a delay of game penalty to Parayko. With the goalie pulled, Dallas attacked with a ‘six-on-four’ strategy, but they couldn’t break through the defense of people like Alexander Steen and others who kept the puck from getting to the net. Steen blocked two of the final three shots in the closing seconds.

WRAP-UP

  • The Blues take a 2-1 series lead in this best-of-seven series. Game 4 will be on Wednesday night in Dallas with an 8:30 start.
  • Dallas is dominating in the faceoff dot. They won 62.5% of the draws in this game. St. Louis held the team advantage coming into this series according to statistics, but Dallas has ignored the stats. Blues need to be better in that area.
  • The Blues did an excellent job of containing the big line of Dallas for the most part. Jamie Benn didn’t score tonight. Seguin and Radulov each had goals, but it wasn’t like this line was dominating play on the Blues.
  • Parayko has stepped up his play in the last two games. He’s a tremendous skater and is hard to knock off the puck, and who wants to get in the way of that 100+ MPH shot when he unleashes that thing?
  • One Dallas goal was a power play goal tonight. The other two were after a trip that wasn’t called resulting in an odd-man rush, and a turnover by the Blues in their defensive end that ended up in the net. Other than a couple of mistakes, the Blues played a solid game. If they can keep it 5-on-5, Dallas has a hard time.
  • Two down. 2 to go. Let’s go Blues!
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