Enterprise Center – St. Louis, MO
Dallas, 30-19-5, 3rd place in Central Division at St. Louis, 32-15-8, 1st place in Central Division
In an important Central Division battle, the Stars shoot into town to take on the division-leading Blues. Neither team has been on much of a roll lately, with the Blues winning just 2 out of their last 6. Meanwhile, the Stars have dropped their last 2, including a 3-2 loss to Minnesota in Dallas last night.
Coach Berube shook up the lines a bit, opting for more size as Jacob de la Rose and MacKenzie MacEachern returned to the lineup tonight.
Although the Blues have been in a bit of a funk lately, they still hold a 6 point lead over the 2nd place Avalanche and 7 points over the 3rd place Stars. 2 big points are up for grabs between these heated division foes.
It was announced just before the game, that Chris Pronger would have his number retired and hung from the rafters next season. But it was another big Blues’ defenseman who stole the spotlight in the first.
Colton Parayko sent a one-timer past Anton Khudobin at 6:15. Robert Thomas found Vince Dunn in the middle of the ice out by the blue line and Dunn sent a pass to Parayko who was at the left circle. Parayko unloaded and beat Khudobin high glove side. Parayko’s 5th of the year made it 1-0 St. Louis and marked the 3rd straight game that Parayko has scored.
Just under 5 minutes later, Parayko struck again. After Dallas turned the puck over in their own end, David Perron found Parayko in the high slot. Parayko sent a canon blast under Khudobin’s right arm and it was 2-0 Blues.
The Blues survived a Dallas power play about halfway through the period that was highlighted by numerous great saves by Jordan Binnington. Dallas controlled the puck in the St. Louis zone and sent 6 shots on net, but Binnington kept the door closed.
Dallas was able to cash in on their 2nd power play. Justin Faulk went off for tripping with a little over 3 minutes left. Mattias Janmark found the puck in the middle of the ice and skated into position for a shot, but instead of shooting, he sent a nifty backward pass to Jamie Benn who deflected the puck past Binnington with the heel of his stick.
At the end of the 1st period, it was 2-1 Blues with Dallas outshooting St. Louis 14-10.
In a period marred by sloppiness and neutral zone play, Dallas was able to tie the game 2-2 at 13:25. After the Blues killed off a hooking penalty on Perron, the Stars controlled the puck in the offensive zone for an extended period. Corey Perry had the puck to the right of Binnington, and with a nifty move sidestepped Perron and found Roope Hintz out front. Hintz sent a quick wrist shot past Binnington to even the score.
Immediately after Hintz’s goal, the Blues went on the power play when Jamie Benn went to the box for high sticking. Parayko just missed a hat trick into a wide-open net but the puck was rolling on him and his shot went wide.
The Blues had a couple of good chances to take the lead back in the 3rd, but overall the period was similar to the 2nd. St. Louis could not generate any sustained pressure in the Dallas zone. The Blues’ broke in on a 2 on 1 but once again a great Blues’ chance was thwarted by a rolling puck. Zach Sanford fed Ryan O’Reilly at the side of the net with 5 minutes to go in the 3rd, but Khudobin slid over and made a great save with his left pad.
With a minute left Jay Bouwmeester gave the Stars a power play for holding the stick, and it was all the Blues could do to escape regulation with a point. St. Louis held off the Stars’ power play for the last 45 seconds of the period and would go into overtime on the penalty kill for another 1:15.
The Blues did well to kill off the last of the Dallas power play and had a decent chance after the kill when Schwartz took a sharp angle toward Khudobin and got off a quality shot. Khudobin was there, however, and Dallas went the other way.
Miro Heiskanen found Roope Hintz just inside the blue line and Hintz used a little stutter-step move to fire a quick wrister that caught Binnington off guard. The puck sneaked through the 5 hole and Dallas had completed their comeback from a 2-0 deficit. It was a goal that Binnington would like to have back.
Summary and notes:
After the first 15 minutes of the first period, the Blues did not play their game. They did not have the best puck luck, having 2 wide open chances foiled by rolling pucks, but all things considered, they were lucky to gain the 1 point for the overtime loss. Dallas outplayed them for 2/3 of the game.
Colton Parayko was the best player on the ice. He scored his 5th and 6th goals and made numerous plays on defense.
The loss means that the Blues are now just 2 and 5 in their last 7 games. With Dallas and Colorado both winning Saturday night, the Central Division standings are tightening up.