Blues Back on Track, Throttle Hurricanes 6-3

Enterprise Center, St. Louis, MO

Vince Dunn and Brayden Schenn help Jordan Binnington defend the net against the Carolina Hurricanes’ Brock McGinn. (Scott Rovak/NHL via Getty Images)

Carolina, 30-19-3, 6th place in Metropolitan Division at St. Louis, 31-14-8, 1st place in Central Division

St. Louis is happy to be home after a dismal western Canada road trip. The note has dropped 5 out of their last six games and are in a scoring funk. Not even Craig Berube’s magic touch with shuffling the lines has worked.

Meanwhile, the Hurricanes have won 3 of 4, coming off a 4-3 shootout win at Vancouver Sunday night. Although Carolina is in 6th place in the Metropolitan Division, their 63 points would be suitable for 3rd in the Central and 2nd in the Pacific.

Joel Edmundson made his first visit to St. Louis since being traded to Carolina, and the Blues honored him with a highlight video and presented him with his Stanley Cup ring before the game. Flanked by Vladimir Tarasenko, Alexander Steen and Alex Pietrangelo, a grinning Edmundson tried on the ring for the first time and posed for some photos. The crowd gave Edmundson a rousing ovation, and he skated by the Blues bench and fist-bumped his former teammates before the puck was dropped to start the 1st.

The Blues came out flying, perhaps determined to put their feeble road trip behind them and get back to their winning ways. Just over 2 minutes in. Jordan Kyrou had a great chance as the puck slid through the crease and stopped at the right post before being cleared away. Moments later, the Blues cashed in when Justin Faulk fired a hard shot from the blue line. Petr Mrazek made the save, but Sammy Blais was there to clean up the rebound. It was Blais’ first goal since his return from injured reserve and his 6th of the year.

The 1st period had a hectic, back and forth pace with very few whistles. One whistle occurred, however, when Brayden Schenn went off for holding the stick. The St. Louis penalty kill was up to the task, not allowing the Canes to set up and not allowing a serious chance until the very end of the power play. Jordan Binnington made a solid save in the waning moments, and it was back to full strength.

With a little over 7 minutes left in the period, Kyrou was part of another excellent chance for the Blues. He and Tyler Bozak broke into the zone, and the puck was deflected from Kyrou to Bozak, who threw it on net as he sped by. Once again, the puck floated tantalizingly across the crease but somehow stayed out of the net.

With 4:25 to play, Vince Dunn took exception to an Andrei Svechnikov hit on Zach Sanford, which led to minors for roughing and four on four play. With 30 seconds left in the four on 4, Sebastian Aho held Robert Thomas, and the Blues had a four on 3. Pietrangelo had a good look from the left boards, but Mrazek made the save. When the four on 3 expired the Blues still had a minute and a half on the power play, highlighted by David Perron banging one of the left post, but the Blues were unable to convert and the period ended with the score 1-0 St. Louis.

2nd period

It was an offensive explosion for the Blues in the 2nd period, a period in which they scored four times. 1:30 into the 2nd, Zach Sanford bulled his way into the zone and, with a great power move, beat Mrazek to the right post with a wrap around to make it 2-0. The goal extended Sanford’s points streak to 6 games. Jay Bouwmeester and Colton Parayko had the assists.

Shortly after the Blues killed a hooking penalty on Vince Dunn, Schenn found Parayko at the left circle, and Parayko fired a bullet one-timer past Mrazek high glove side to make it 3-0.

Carolina tried to stay close and got a little puck luck. After some good forechecking by the Canes, a Blues’ clearing attempt hit a linesman and ended up on the stick of Warren Foegele. Foegele found Sebastian Aho in front of a wide-open net, and the Canes cut the lead to 3-1.

Schenn takes over on power play

Brayden Schenn scored two power-play goals in a span of 4 1/2 minutes to give the Blues complete control. Jaden Schwartz and Ryan O’Reilly assisted on both. Schenn was there to clean up a rebound when Mrazek made a great kick save on Schwartz for his first tally at 7:31, and took a great feed from Schwartz to fire into an open left side for his 2nd at 11:54. The two goals gave Schenn 20 on the season.

At the end of the 2nd, it was 5-1 St. Louis, and although the shots were only 16-14 in favor of St. Louis,  the Blues were dominating play.

3rd period

With a 5-1 lead at the start of the 3rd, there was little doubt the Blues would take care of business. Zach Sanford removed any doubt at all when he fired a slap shot past Mrazek at 10:41. Ryan O’Reilly won an offensive zone face-off, and Bouwmeester did good work along the boards finding Sanford. It was O’Reilly’s 3rd assist on the night and Bouwmeester’s 2nd.

Carolina didn’t quit. Brock McGinn and Martin Naces scored in the 2nd half of the period, but the Blues were firmly in control by that point and took this one by the score of 6-3.

Summary and Notes:

Overall, the Blues looked much better than they had the past few games. They were quick to the puck, scrappy, and just had more jump. It was a much needed impressive showing after a disappointing road trip.

Jordan Binnington was sharp, stopping 25 of 28 shots and earning his league-leading 16th win at home.

Zach Sanford and Brayden Schenn each scored two goals, with Brayden Schenn also tallying an assist for his first 3 point game of the season.

Next up:

The Jets land in St. Louis Thursday night to take on the Stanley Cup Champs at 8 pm eastern.

 

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