Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko (91) celebrates his goal with his linemates. (Photo courtesy: Jeff Curry, USA TODAY Sports)
ST. LOUIS, MO – The St. Louis Blues (4-2-3) got a much-needed win at home against the red-hot Colorado Avalanche (7-1-1) by handing them their first regulation loss of the season. Following a rather lethargic loss to the Canadiens, the St. Louis Blues were much quicker and heavier to play a full 60 against their division rival, allowing only one shot on net in the second period.
Brayden Schenn continued to click with his 6th goal on the powerplay to put the Blues up 1-0 midway through the 1st. However, penalties committed by St. Louis also proved costly, as Nathan MacKinnon buried his 5th of the year on a 5-on-3 advantage to tie it.
In the second period, it was all St. Louis as the Blues’ forecheck and speed dominated the Avs. David Perron scored on a delayed penalty after a beautiful passing sequence courtesy of Justin Faulk and Vladimir Tarasenko. Later, it would be Tarasenko again, grabbing his 3rd goal in the new season, while passing Keith Tkachuk for 9th all-time points.
The St. Louis Blues players all contributed against the Colorado Avalanche in the third period to secure the 3-1 win. St. Louis will look to continue their winning ways in the final game of this homestand against Los Angeles on Thursday at 7pm CT. The Colorado Avalanche are on their way to Vegas to play the Golden Knights on Friday.
The Blues and Avalanche got off to a hot start in the opening minutes of the game, with high speed and heavy physicality going in both directions of the ice. Midway through the period, former Blue Ian Cole was charged with interference giving the Blues their first powerplay. After working his way into the slot, Brayden Schenn snapped a wrister high side past Philipp Grubauer.
Schenn’s 6th goal of the season came on the powerplay and put St. Louis up 1-0, with the help of Vince Dunn and Vladimir Tarasenko. However, the Blues took minor penalties of their own minutes later. Alex Steen was charged with interference and Jay Bouwmeester was charged with hooking at 12:15. At 5-on-3, with the best line in hockey on full offensive, it didn’t take long for Nathan MacKinnon to get Colorado on the board.
MacKinnon’s 5th of the year tied the game 1 apiece. Both teams kept their foot on the gas, but Jordan Binnington and Philipp Grubauer kept the puck out for the rest of the first. Both teams headed off with one goal and 9 shots, but the Blues notably landed far more hits than their past contests.
The second period was dominated by St. Louis in arguably their best period of the season. The Blues speed and sharp passing kept them in the O-Zone, while their forechecking and physicality kept Colorado out of their zone. St. Louis played so well in the second they held Colorado just one single shot.
On a delayed penalty five minutes in, the Blues got an extra attacker to play 6-on-5. A brilliant passing sequence involving all six players lead to Justin Faulk with a one-touch feed to Tarasenko, who fed Perron up the middle to score.
Perron’s goal doubled the Blues lead at 5:07. St. Louis didn’t let off the gas, continued to hound Philipp Grubauer with everything they had. Mikko Rantanen, one of the Avs’ top goal scorers, also exited the game early after a big hit from MacKenzie MacEachern.
With 5 minutes to go in the second, Jaden Schwartz fired a shot wide that bounced behind the net. Tarasenko jumped on the loose puck and flinged a shot that snuck its way underneath Grubauer at the red line to give the Blues a 3-1 lead.
Fluky as it was, Tarasenko scored his 3rd of the season to put the Blues up 3-1. It was also his 428th career point as a Blue, passing Keith Tkachuk for 9th in all-time points. The period came to a close with the Blues outshooting the Avalanche 11-1 in the period and leading 3-1.
Despite the solid second frame, the Blues knew they needed to close out the game against this rock-solid team. There were penalties traded between the teams throughout the third, but the physicality of the Blues and defensive shutdown kept the dangerous chances away from Binnington.
The line shifts of Alex Steen and Sammy Blais paid off for coach Craig Berube as the Blues came away with the 3-1 win. The Blues outshot the Avs 25-18 and blocked 14 shots to their 11. Jordan Binnington grabbed the win for St. Louis making 17 saves and improving to 3-1-3.
The Blues recognized the victory as one of the most complete games they’ve played this season. “It feels good. We played a great game today,” Jordan Binnington told the media after the game. “That’s how we need to play every night and hopefully we can build off this.”
The Blues wrap up the homestand looking for another win against the Los Angeles Kings at 8pm ET on Thursday. To follow sll of the action of that game, head to:
STL: FSMW, ESPN 101.1, Fox Sports GO, NHL.com
LAK: FSW, KHTS 1220, Fox Sports GO, NHL.com
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