Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen (31) makes a save on Blues forward Jaden Schwartz (17). (Photo courtesy: JB Forbes, STL Post-Dispatch)
ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Blues (18-7-6) were completely throttled by the Toronto Maple Leafs (14-13-4) Saturday night as the Leafs cruised to a 5-2 win. Toronto steamrolled the Blues early in the first, scoring 3 goals in less than 10 minutes, including one shorthanded. Ivan Barbashev netted his 5th of the season to keep the Blues within striking distance, but Jason Spezza scored on the powerplay to make it 4-1 after just one period.
Jake Allen was swapped in after the 4-1 landslide, but the Blues could not improve much afterwards. Auston Matthews scored another goal on the powerplay in the second, after a wild bouncing puck came right to his stick. Despite the Blues attempting to mount a comeback, that silenced the bench and the building after that goal made it 5-1.
David Perron grabbed his 11th of the season early in the third period to cut the lead, and Troy Brouwer’s fight with Travis Dermott made it a little more interesting. Despite Jake Allen holding the fort for St. Louis in the third, the Blues couldn’t mount a strong enough comeback, dropping the game 5-2.
St. Louis dropped their second straight game in regulation for the first time this season. The Blues are back in action again on NBCSN on Tuesday at 6:30 against the Buffalo Sabres, while Toronto begins their Canadian road trip in Vancouver the same day.
After the Leafs scored just four goals in their last three games, they came right out the gate in St. Louis flying high. Both teams traded blows back and forth early in the first period, but Zach Hyman drew first blood after Mitch Marner intercepted the puck in the neutral zone.
Hyman’s goal made it 1-0 just under three minutes into the first, but St. Louis didn’t stand by. Ivan Barbashev received a perfect feed by Robert Thomas and sniped a goal top shelf past Frederik Andersen to tie the game less than 90 seconds later.
Barbashev’s 5th of the year got the Blues right back into it, but Toronto but the dagger to their throats. After a myriad of sloppy turnovers and poor possession time, it was Auston Matthews snapping one five-hole underneath Jordan Binnington.
Things didn’t get any better in St. Louis after the Leafs went up 2-1 with 13 minutes left to play in the first. After a lazy pass from David Perron was intercepted on the powerplay, Zach Hyman and Pierre Engvall cruised up the ice and scored an easy 2-on-0 shorthanded breakaway.
St. Louis would not improve the rest of the period and Toronto waltzed their way into more trouble. On the powerplay, Jason Spezza wired a slapshot from the point that cleanly beat a screened Binnington to make it 4-1.
With the wheels falling apart in St. Louis, head coach Craig Berube pulled Binnington from the net and swapped him with Jake Allen. The Blues only treaded water for the remainder of the period, after allowing 4 goals on 10 shots. St. Louis skated off after just one period down 4-1, getting outshot 12-8.
The Blues got their act together in the second period, even with Colton Parayko and Zach Sanford absent from the bench. They started to hold position in the offensive zone, and newest Blue Nathan Walker continued to get good looks on net thanks to his speed through the zone.
David Perron caught a goalpost on their powerplay, but St. Louis was unable to find the bounces to get back on board. The Leafs were able to, however, after Auston Matthews banked in a bouncing puck on their second powerplay.
Any life the Blues had completely petered out after Matthew’s 2nd goal of the evening, making it 5-1. St. Louis desperately tried to get the offense rolling through the play of Nathan Walker or Justin Faulk, but the Blues looked completely out of sync in all three zones.
Neither team scored after that goal in the second period, and a frustrated St. Louis team skated off home ice down 5-1 after two. The Blues outshot the Leafs through two periods, 19-17.
The Blues refused to call the game a loss early in the third period. David Perron, whose point streak was cut short at eight games on Wednesday, scored a perfect deflection off of Alex Pietrangelo’s point shot.
Perron’s 8th point in nine games – and 11th goal of the season – cut the Leafs lead to 3 just two minutes into the third, with the help of Ryan O’Reilly and Alex Pietrangelo. The depth skaters for St. Louis continued to do their part in the attempted rally as well, as Troy Brouwer dropped the gloves with Travis Dermott shortly after.
Despite some unlucky bounces, Frederik Andersen played incredibly well for the Leafs all night long and made some key saves in the final period. The speed of the Leafs converted those saves into more offensive possession, as St. Louis desperately tried to claw their way back into the game.
The Blues mounted a comeback offensive in the third period, but it was too little, too late as they fell to Toronto 5-2. Andersen held the line for the Leafs late in the third and made some great saves to secure his 14th win of the season, 2nd-best in the NHL.
The Blues dropped their second game in a row in regulation, getting outscored 8-2 in those contests. Jordan Binnington only made 6 saves on 10 shots before he was pulled in the first; Allen made 15 saves on 16 shots. The Blues split the season series with Toronto, getting a win earlier in October.
David Perron scored his 11th goal of the season and now has points in eight of his last nine games. Sanford left the ice with an undisclosed upper-body injury.
St. Louis heads on the road again to Buffalo on Tuesday, which will be televised on NBCSN at 7:30pm ET. Toronto starts their roadtrip through Western Canada on Tuesday, starting with the Vancouver Canucks.
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