Blues players Ivan Barbashev (49), Zach Sanford (12) and Vince Dunn (29) celebrate their goal against the Rangers. (Photo courtesy: Jeff Curry, USA TODAY Sports)
ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Blues (29-10-7) routed the New York Rangers (21-19-4) in Enterprise Center on Saturday night, winning 5-2. Filip Chytil opened the scoring for New York on a fluky wrist shot, but Robert Bortuzzo tied the game on a breakaway after taking a double-minor penalty, scoring his first goal of the season. Vince Dunn scored late in the first period to give St. Louis a 2-1 lead after the first, and newest All-Star David Perron scored on the powerplay in the second.
Brett Howden scored on a perfect feed from Chytil to bring it back within one, but Zach Sanford and Jaden Schwartz both scored to put the Blues up by three, 5-2. Sanford’s goal and assist helped propel the Blues to the 5-2 win, as Jordan Binnington made 21 saves. Tempers mounted at the end of the game as Vince Dunn and Jacob Trouba dropped the gloves, but St. Louis got the job done for their 8th straight win on home ice.
“I think just the past three games we’ve been playing well as a team, when maybe we were slipping away from that before then,” Vince Dunn said. “Right now, we’re working hard on both ends of the ice, and it’s definitely showing up on the scoreboard.”
The Blues are back in action at home on Monday against the Ducks at 7pm. New York heads back home to host the Islanders.
The Blues looked to pick up where they left off in the homestand, but started on the wrong foot. Just over 90 second into the period, Filip Chytil sent a soft wrist shot that barely glanced off a stick and beat Jordan Binnington by surprise.
The Blues took a blow early in the game, going down 1-0. They didn’t let the score affect them, however, as they continued to forecheck hard and get right back to work. Robert Bortuzzo took a high sticking double-minor shortly after, but the Blues looked even more dominant on the penalty kill than the Rangers did on the man advantage.
As soon as the four-minute penalty ended, Ivan Barbashev found Robert Bortuzzo streaking out of the box, and he scored on a breakaway for his first of the season.
Bortuzzo’s first of the year tied the game at a critical moment early for the Blues, with under 10 minutes to play in the period. The Blues used the goal as a way to start fresh, and they did so by dominating the possession time and preventing any dangerous chances from coming Binnington’s way.
After being scratched multiple games, Zach Sanford came up big for the Blues tonight. Sanford lured two Rangers players to him as he sent a perfect feed to Vince Dunn, who scored beneath Henrik Lundqvist’s blocker.
Both goals for the Blues were scored by defensemen, putting them up 2-1 at the end of the first period. The Blues took their first lead of the game to close the period, as they outshot the Rangers 9-8.
The Blues used the momentum of a late-period goal and carried it into the second, putting on chance after chance on Henrik Lundqvist. St. Louis was granted a powerplay early in the first period, and newest All-Star David Perron scored a patented one-timer from the top of the faceoff dot.
Perron’s fourth goal in as many games put the Blues up 3-1, as the last two goals came 2:35 apart. Perron’s 20th of the year made it his fifth 20+ goal season, as well as the league-leading eighth game-winning goal.
It was all St. Louis as the second period progressed, thanks to the forechecking and defensive pressure of all four lines. New York, however, managed to get back on the board. Filip Chytil got both St. Louis defensemen to bite behind the net and he perfectly wired a pass to Brett Howden, who scored the easy tap-in goal.
The goal cut the Blues lead back down to one, but the Blues played with no fear, as they had all season. The animosity between the two clubs began to ramp up, as the bottom 6 continued to get physical with the Rangers forwards. Zach Sanford was on the offensive again, after he intercepted the puck in the neutral zone. He and Ivan Barbashev played catch until Sanford one-timed it into the net.
The goals continued to mount against Lundqvist and the Rangers. Oskar Sundqvist made a great breakout feed to Jaden Schwartz, who broke past Mika Zibanejad after sending the puck up to Brayden Schenn. Schenn gave the puck back to Schwartz as he deflected a shot past Lundqvist to make it 5-2.
The wheels began to come apart for the Rangers as the Blues raced ahead to a 5-2 lead, with five minutes still to go in the second. Neither team could find the net after Schwartz’s goal, as the Blues skated off with a convincing 5-2 lead. The Blues outshot the Rangers through two, 22-14.
After an explosive second period, the Blues stayed on the defensive and controlled the pace of the game for the remainder of the period. Neither team could score, but St. Louis kept as much as they could away from Jordan Binnington for the final twenty minutes. Binnington still remained strong on the Rangers’ few solid chances, as he stayed perfect through the rest of the game.
The frustrations hit their peak for New York at the very end of the game, as MacKenzie MacEachern and Brendan Smith got game misconducts late in the third. Tempers only continued to mount as Jacob Trouba continued to hack and slash at Vince Dunn as the final horn sounded. Both players got into a scrap after the game finished, with several Blues and Rangers players exchanging words afterwards as well.
After all was said and done, the Blues came away with their third straight victory and 8th striahgt on home ice. Jordan Binnington got his 22nd win on the year, making 21 saves.
After the convincing win (and the extracurriculars after), Vince Dunn spoke on the team’s third straight win. “I think just the past three games we’ve been playing well as a team, when maybe we were slipping away from that before then. Right now, we’re working hard on both ends of the ice, and it’s definitely showing up on the scoreboard.”
Dunn also spoke briefly on his scrap with Jacob Trouba at the final buzzer. “Just an emotional game. You know, stuff happens out there. I’m not looking to hurt anyone or look for fights every time out there, but that’s just the way some things happen.”
The Blues continue the homestand against Anaheim on Monday at 8pm ET, looking for their 30th win of the season. The Rangers play the Islanders three times in the next four games, with their next contest coming up on Monday at the Garden.
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