Blues forward David Perron (57) celebrates with defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (27) after scoring the overtime winner against Columbus. (Photo courtesy: Jeff Roberson, AP Photo)
St. Louis, MO – The St. Louis Blues (8-3-3) grabbed a quick pair of goals in the 2nd period to power past the Columbus Blue Jackets (5-5-3) in a 4-3 overtime win. The Blue Jackets put the screws to St. Louis early and peppered goaltender Jordan Binnington, but a highlight-reel pass from Tyler Bozak helped Robert Thomas get on the board first. In the final seconds of the period, however, leading scorer for the Jackets Pierre-Luc Dubois tied the game.
The Blues were sloppy to start the second and the Blue Jackets got two goals in the first ten minutes from Oliver Bjorkstrand and Sonny Milano. However, Brayden Schenn blasted his 10th of the season on the powerplay and Oskar Sundqvist tied the game for St. Louis, with their goals coming 26 seconds apart. Jordan Binnington and Elvis Marzlikins took the reigns for the rest of regulation, making some solid saves when their defenses faltered.
The game would require overtime, but not much of it: Alex Pietrangelo immediately carried into the zone and fed Perron, who lasered it into the net just 8 seconds into overtime. The Blues would find another way to win as they took down the Blue Jackets 4-3. Binnington was huge in net for the Blues again tonight, making 30 saves on the evening and improving to 7-2-3.
The Blue Jackets came out all cannons blazing to open the game against the Stanley Cup Champions, registering 4 great shots on net in the opening minutes before St. Louis could even enter the zone. Jordan Binnington came ready to play, however, and made some stellar stops to keep the Blues net empty.
After trading Too Many Men on the Ice penalties, the Blues finally got their legs working. Alex Pietrangelo forced the puck in deep with a great forecheck at the blue line to feed Sanford. Sanford moved the puck to Tyler Bozak, and with an incredible spin-o-rama pass from Bozak, Robert Thomas easily buried his 2nd of the season.
Thomas’ second of the season came courtesy from an excellent entry by the Blues and an unbelievable pass from Bozak. The Blues, in the final five minutes of the period, started getting too sloppy in their own zone and Columbus would not quit. Binnington continued to stand on his head but he couldn’t bail out the entire ship: in the final 4.7 seconds of the period, Pierre-Luc Dubois received a perfect pass in front from Gus Nyquist to score his 6th.
The period came to a silent close as Columbus tied the game 1-1 after one. St. Louis headed off the ice getting outshot 11-8 and down in the faceoff percentage, winning a startling 38%.
The Blues still couldn’t get their act together in the opening of the second period, and Columbus quickly put them on their heels. Binnington once again held strong and kept the game from getting out of hand, but the Blue Jackets hammered away. Sonny Milano found the rebound in the near corner after an initial save by Binnington and flung the puck to a wide-open net.
The Jackets weren’t finished with the Blues after that goal. Dubois and the top powerplay unit for the Blue Jackets took advantage of the sloppy defense of the Blues and Oliver Bjorkstrand received a cross-ice pass to score.
Bjorkstrand’s 3rd of the season put a stranglehold on the Blues, leading 3-1. On the opening night of the Hockey Fights Cancer awareness month, however, the St. Louis Blues still had fight left in their game as well. With an interference penalty going their way, no. 10 scored number 10 on the year as Schenn was fed right through the slot.
Schenn’s 10th of the year put the Blues back within one, and David Perron earned his 300th career assist on the play. Finally getting some momentum, the Blues turned the pace of the game immediately, when Oskar Sundqvist scored on his own rebound, just 26 seconds later.
Just two minutes after the Blue Jackets made it 3-1, the Blues erased the deficit and tied the game 3-3. Columbus and St. Louis still kept the game high-octane, but Elvis Merzlikins and Jordan Binnington both played hard enough to keep their cages closed for the remainder of the period. St. Louis was outshot again, 22-17, but shaped up the faceoff numbers and the goals to head off tied after 40.
Columbus and St. Louis went back and forth with solid chances, but the Blues’ pace to start the period was much improved. Sammy Blais just missed his 5th of the year off the goalpost, while Oliver Bjorkstrand continued to lead the way for Columbus, with a goal and 5 shots on net. The fourth line of Sundqvist, Barbashev and MacEachern were one of the best lines of the evening, earning their ice time with great physicality and passing in the offensive zone.
Columbus had their fair share of chances, but the bounces went the goaltenders’ way for the rest of the third period. Despite a late-game powerplay for the Blues, Merzilikins and Binnington pitched shutout periods in the third to end regulation, still tied at 3. Columbus still held the shot advantage over St. Louis, 30-26.
The Blues, still with some powerplay time, got the job done just 8 seconds into overtime. Alex Pietrangelo had a perfect entry into the zone and a stellar feed to – who else – David Perron.
Perron sniped his second overtime winner for his 8th goal of the season and sent the Blue Jackets packing in overtime, as St. Louis earned their 8th win of the season, 4-3. Binnington was one of the best players on the ice, making 30 saves on 33 Columbus shots.
Jordan Binnington and David Perron both recognized the win as a reflection of the team’s resilience and character. “They came hard at us and we weathered the storm and got a one-goal lead,” Jordan Binnington told Darren Pang after the game. “Those are tough to give up, those last-minute goals, but we really responded late in that second period and pushed back… It was great to see another character win by this team.”
“You don’t always play perfect, the other team might play well, but to win a game off that… we still found a way to get two points. We’ll definitely take it,” David Perron told the media after scoring the game winner.
Brayden Schenn, however, realized the cautionary tale told in the Blues’ first half of the game, and recognized the room for improvement. “We know we can play better. You know, we’re grinding out wins right now, letting teams hang around,” Schenn told the media afterwards. “Columbus is a good team, but we feel like we didn’t play our best hockey tonight. But we were able to get the two points, so we’ll take it.”
The Blues are off to Minnesota tomorrow to kick off another 4-game road trip, after beating the Wild earlier this week. The Blues and Wild face off at 7pm CT, and live coverage is provided by:
STL: FSMW, ESPN 101.1, Fox Sports GO, NHL.com
MIN: FSN, KFAN 100.3, Fox Sports GO, NHL.com
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