Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Fabbri's first NHL hat trick fuels' Blues' 6-3 win over Flyers

Perron, Upshall score 1:20 apart to erase 
third-period deficit in four-goal third period

ST. LOUIS -- Robby Fabbri wasn't sure when the last time he registered a hat trick in a game, but he knew he's scored them before.

"I had some in junior," he said. "My first one here."

This will go down as a date Fabbri will never forget after scoring his first NHL hat trick in a 6-3 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday before 19,409 at Scottrade Center.

Fabbri's last hat trick, as a matter of fact, came March 22, 2015 playing junior hockey for the Guelph Storm against the Sarnia Sting; he didn't know that.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Blues left wing Robby Fabbri (15) is congratulated by teammates after 
scoring one of his three goals Wednesday against Philadelphia.

"I couldn't tell you that; it's been a while," Fabbri said.

According to Sportsnet stats, Fabbri became the second-youngest player in franchise history (20 years, 11 months) to score a hat trick behind Bernie Federko.

"The break really helped him. He was really beat up," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said of Fabbri. "And getting four days off helped him heal. 

"He was really hurting the last four, five games. He was able just to barely play, but he feels good physically and I think you can see it in the jump in his game."

David Perron and Scottie Upshall scored goals 1:20 apart in the third to help the Blues erase a 3-2 Flyers lead. 

Perron tied it 3-3 with a deflection at 5:53 of a Colton Parayko shot, and Upshall put the Blues (19-12-5) ahead 4-3 with a deflection of his own at 7:13 of a Joel Edmundson shot.

"Our ‘D’ did a great job of shooting with their heads up, getting them through that first layer," Upshall said. "A goal of ours is to get in front of the net and be strong in those red areas and we did a great job. It was a big effort in the third for our team."

The Blues scored four times in the third period on five shots; they had three third-period goals the previous nine games (all in two games against New Jersey).

"I think we've had a lot of these go our way at home," said Hitchcock, whose team improved to 14-2-4 on home ice with points in 16 of the past 17 (12-1-4). "We just stay on it. We trust our work at home and believe in it and just stay on it."

Kevin Shattenkirk also scored for the Blues, who got two assists from Parayko and Dmitrij Jaskin. Backup goalie Carter Hutton made 17 saves for his first win since Nov. 5.

"I've watched too many close games to worry about that," Hutton said. "It's about winning games, so obviously I'm pretty excited right now." 

Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn each had a goal and an assist, Nick Cousins scored, and Travis Konecky had two assists for the Flyers (20-13-4), who got 19 saves from Steve Mason and lost for the fourth time in five games (1-3-1) after a 10-game winning streak.

"We wanted just too easy of a night," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. "We wanted to play too easy of a game. We have to be better and we'll address that and we're not going into easy places to play the rest of this road trip, so we'll sort it out and get back to work tomorrow and that's the bottom line." 

Simmonds scored his 17th goal, most on the Flyers, to give Philadelphia a 1-0 lead 3:25 into the game, but St. Louis got two power-play goals, from Shattenkirk at 15:01 after a slick shot-fake from Alexander Steen and shot from the high slot through traffic and Fabbri with 11.7 seconds remaining in the first, to take a 2-1 lead, after Parayko found Fabbri in the slot for another shot through traffic by Perron.

It's the Blues' first multi power-play game since Dec. 1 against Tampa Bay, a span of 12 games.

"It seems like we've been going in streaks here with the power play," Fabbri said. "Good start with Shatty's goal there and we've just got to keep that going and have the consistency."

The Flyers scored the only goal in the second period when Cousins deflected Ivan Provorov’s wrist shot from the left point. After Cousins tipped it in the slot, the puck caromed off Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson and got past Hutton at 4:32 to tie it 2-2. 

The Blues reviewed the play for offsides, but the goal stood.

The Flyers had an apparent goal by Schenn waved off 3:45 into the third period when the referee lost sight of the puck and intended to blow the whistle, but Schenn scored to put Philadelphia up 3-2 at 4:13 with a power-play goal. 

Fabbri scored his second of the game with 4:59 remaining to put the Blues up 5-3, a microcosm of the Blues' goals for the game; he dug a puck off the half wall in the offensive zone away from Cousins, moved it into the left circle before beating Mason short side.

"I sort of felt (Cousins) on my shoulder there so I tried to spin off of him," Fabbri said. "It ended up working. 'Bergy' and 'Jasky' took their guys to the net and gave me a lane there."

Fabbri completed the Blues' third hat trick of the season (Perron and Vladimir Tarasenko) with an empty-netter with 2:56 remaining.

"It's a cool feeling. It's special," Fabbri said. "To get it in a win is even better."

But for the Blues, the theme of the night was workmanlike goals. They got plenty of them.

"All traffic goals," Hitchcock said. "Both power-play goals were traffic goals. We had traffic at the net every time. 'Fabs' is another example, everything is traffic. Traffic goals like crazy. 
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Blues goalie Carter Hutton (40) makes one of 17 saves against the Flyers
for his first win since Nov. 5.

"We can play a heavy game. It's not fun to play that way, but that's how we're built. We can play a heavy game if we get our minds set. We played heavy today which is a good sign."

And this time, instead of the game going the other way, the Blues found a way to be the closers.

"Our team for the most part, when we got down by a goal early, we didn’t flinch," Upshall said. "We held our game.

"We've had chances to close out games, we've found ways to lose them. And good teams play well with the lead. We're learning and we can be better, but tonight was great."

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