Blues goaltender Jake Allen (34) makes a save against Stars captain Jamie Benn (14). (Photo courtesy: Brandon Wade, AP Photo)
Dallas, TX – The St. Louis Blues (16-5-6) grabbed a big road win against a resurging division rival in the Dallas Stars (15-10-2). The Blues got off to a great start offensively in recent games, as the two teams played physical hockey on both ends of the ice. St. Louis’ possession time helped keep the Stars at bay, until Colton Parayko sent a wrist shot that cleanly beat a screened Ben Bishop to gain the 1-0 lead.
Goaltender Jake Allen came ready to play in Dallas as he made some spectacular saves early in the second period to maintain the Blues lead. Later in the second, Nathan Walker appeared to score in his debut game with the Blues, but the goal was successfully challenged for being offside.
The third period continued to get great chances both ways, but Roope Hintz tied the game with minutes to go in regulation. The Blues, however, merely shrugged it off when Ryan O’Reilly scored his first in 9 games a mere 18 seconds later. Ivan Barbashev buried the empty-netter in the final seconds to secure a 3-1 win for the Blues on the road.
The Blues are back in action tomorrow against Pittsburgh at 7pm CT at home.
The Blues got off to a great start against their division rivals. Their physicality and defensive mindset helped keep most of the Stars chances out of the danger areas. That slowly contributed to more offensive possession time for St. Louis, as well as the defensive turnovers and miscues committed by Dallas.
Still, the Stars kept physical and forechecked hard, trying to keep the lid on the Blues for as long as they could. In the final five minutes, Colton Parayko broke free from his check behind the Stars net and skated back to his point. With Zach Sanford screening Ben Bishop in the crease, Parayko launched a wrist shot to the opposite post for a clean goal that Bishop never saw.
Parayko’s second of the year came with less than 5 minutes in the first period and broke the ice in St. Louis’ favor. The Blues did a great job of holding the Stars back for the remainder of the period. St. Louis skated off the ice with the 1-0 lead, outshooting their opposition 10-5.
The Blues didn’t let up in the middle period, forechecking well and skating hard and fast in all three zones. Dallas managed to get a few breakout plays to shift the tide slightly in their favor, but Blues goaltender Jake Allen came ready to play, with both lucky bounces and pad stacks to keep it out of the net.
Jake Allen’s huge saves early in the second period kept the Blues cage empty and they tilted the ice back in their favor. St. Louis and Dallas played some great, clean hockey for the entirety of the two periods, as the Blues gained more sustained pressure by shutting down the superstars.
In his Blues debut, Nathan Walker gained the zone with his 4th line and forced the puck down low, then jammed in a wraparound to beat Ben Bishop. Unfortunately, the goal was challenged by Dallas and Walker was clearly offside.
Neither team could score legally in the second period, thanks to both the goaltenders and video review. After 2 frames, the Blues skated off maintaining the 1-0 lead, with the first powerplay of the night continuing in the third. St. Louis outshot Dallas through 2 periods, 21-18.
St. Louis, despite having lots of newcomers on the ice tonight, showed no signs of standing by in the third period, as they hammered chances on Ben Bishop. The Stars stuck to their defensive guns, however, and began to mount their own offensive in an effort to tie it. When the Blues defense couldn’t get the job done, Jake Allen was there to make the final stop, as he continued to play superbly in net.
The Blues utilized their play style to the fullest in tonight’s contest, as both forwards and D-men pinched and contributed to the offensive zone time to keep a stranglehold on the Stars defense. Allen couldn’t hang on for the shutout, however: at the end of a Stars’ penalty, Roope Hintz received the breakout pass and scored a spectacular goal.
Hintz’s goal tied the game with less than three minutes to play in regulation. However, St. Louis only needed 18 seconds to respond – Ryan O’Reilly and Ivan Barbashev broke out of the zone on a quick 2-on-1 just seconds after the equalizer and “ROR” scored his first goal in 9 games.
The Blues silenced the raucous American Airlines Center by retaking the lead, and with two seconds left in the game Ivan Barbashev scored the empty netter – his fifth point in just two games. After a well-fought game on both sides, the Blues style of play overpowered the Stars in a 3-1 win. The Blues fired 40 shots on net to the Stars 32.
The Blues recognized the team effort got the job done tonight against their division rival. “It’s a very good hockey team we’re playing,” Ryan O’Reilly told Darren Pang after the game. “We knew it was gonna be heavy, physical, not much is gonna be given up, and we’re going to have to do it the hard way.”
With all the mounting injuries, O’Reilly also acknowledged the effort made by all of the new blood in the group. “Our group, we have so many injuries, but you see guys are stepping up, you know, playing our style of hockey, and that’s tough to do,” O’Reilly told Darren Pang. “I really like that part of our group that we can get guys in, and everyone just contributes the right way.”
St. Louis wrapped up the road trip with a win, but are right back at it tomorrow night against the Pittsburgh Penguins in St. Louis. Tune in to Fox Sports Midwest, ESPN 101.1, and Fox Sports GO tomorrow night to follow all the action.
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