Saturday, January 7, 2017

Berglund's late goal gives Blues 4-3 win over Stars

Center's redirection breaks 3-3 tie; Stastny scores twice, assists on another 

ST. LOUIS -- Patrik Berglund knew what was coming. Kevin Shattenkirk could see the play develop. In the end, it produced a clutch goal and an opportune time.

Berglund's redirection with 1 minute, 54 seconds remaining gave the Blues a 4-3 victory over the Dallas Stars on Saturday before 19,503 at Scottrade Center wearing their Winter Classic jerseys, which they will do five more times moving forward.

Berglund made an effective forecheck in the offensive zone and get a puck back to the point to Shattenkirk, he was determined to get to the net.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
The Blues' Nail Yakupov (64) attempts to move the puck away from Stars
defenseman Esa Lindell on Saturday at Scottrade Center.

Shattenkirk recognized it, and Berglund made the rest happen; he redirected Shattenkirk's pass from just inside the blue line past goalie Antti Niemi from the low left faceoff circle to break a 3-3 tie.

Berglund was able to forecheck the puck away from Stars defenseman Johnny Oduya, backhand the puck around the boards back to Shattenkirk before tipping the pass over the right shoulder of Niemi.

"I know he's very good with finding shot-passes and stuff like that so instead of standing on the backdoor, I just kind of went to the other side and lost my guy, so great play by Shatty," Berglund said. "I thought it was going to get past (Niemi); that's why I tried. It worked out. 

"I knew I was going to tip it. I wasn't going to grab it or anything. It's a big goal and good for us. ... Shatty put some heat on the puck so I just put my stick down and hoped for the best. I was lucky it went in."

Shattenkirk gave all the credit to Berglund.

"Heck of a play by him," Shattenkirk said. "When I got that puck … he made a good play to start just to kind of relieve the pressure and get the puck around the boards to me. As I took it and looked up, there was really no lane for me to shoot. When I saw him coming around the net, I was hoping he’d go for the tip and he makes a tremendous play. All I had to do was put it on his stick and he did most of the work. 

"I think he’s one of our best forwards at putting himself in those positions. A lot of times when I get pucks at the blue line, he seems to find those lanes for shot passes. He’s so hard to contain down low. He’s so big and he’s so long, that’s a huge advantage."

"It was a great play by Shatty," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Saw the ice, and he’s got great vision from the red line in. He showed great patience. Bergy got open and made eye contact; he made a great pass-shot."

Paul Stastny had two goals and an assist, Vladimir Tarasenko scored, and Shattenkirk and Alexander Steen had two assists each for the Blues (21-14-5). Carter Hutton made 25 saves and helped the Blues improve to 12-5-2 following a loss.

"A regulation win I think is more important for us, I think trying to separate from the teams in back of us," Stastny said. "Kind of a back and forth game. Hutton made some big saves there at the end, obviously a timely goal from Bergy.

"It's good. It's been coming."

Lauri Korpikoski and John Klingberg each had a goal and an assist, and Patrick Eaves scored for the Stars (16-16-8). Kari Lehtonen allowed three goals on 14 shots before being replaced by Niemi, who made seven saves.

"It's a frustrating game to lose," Stars center Jason Spezza said. "They score on a deflection that's pretty hard to do and it goes in the net for them after we have two point-blankers to take the lead ourselves. It's a frustrating one." 

Korpikoski scored his first goal in 23 games on a breakaway 2:20 into the first period to give the Stars a 1-0 lead. Jordie Benn's long bank pass off the wall set Korpikoski in motion.

"That's a breakaway. I don't think I had enough speed matching him," Hutton said. "But that's something we've got to get out of our game. 

"I think we're giving up too many breakaways, but I've got to make a save there."

The Blues scored the next two goals in the first. Stastny tied it 1-1 at 9:27 as a result of a tip-in from center ice of a Brad Hunt pass. Stastny was able to out-race Stars defenseman Esa Lindell to the front of the net before beating Lehtonen.

Hutton picked up the second assist, which was his third in the NHL.

"I was like, I don't know, I think their goalie and their defensemen had some miscommunication, they both just backed off," Stastny said. "Hitch will be proud of that. We dumped it in, forecheck, everything you can do to keep it simple and then it comes back to me. That was nice to get on the board, especially after they scored one early. It got us back in it and eased us up a bit."

Hitchcock just wanted the puck in deep.

"I don’t care how he gets it in there, just get it in deep," he said. "I don’t care how they do it. I don’t care if they’ve got to put it in their back pocket and carry it in. Whatever they got to do to get the damn thing deep."

Tarasenko scored a power-play goal with 3:17 remaining to make it 2-1 after taking a drop pass from Paul Stastny for his fourth goal in three games.

Robby Fabbri started the play with a backcheck in the neutral zone, then Steen moves Stastny forward with the puck and the rest is history. 

The Stars tied it 2-2 35 seconds into the second period when Eaves scored on the power play after a questionable cross-checking penalty to Shattenkirk on Cody Eakin 17 seconds into the period. The puck lay in the crease after the Stars got it to the net and Eaves cleaned up the rebound. 

Stastny scored on the power play at 7:51 on the Blues' first shot of the period to put St. Louis back ahead 3-2 and chase Lehtonen. 

"I just saw three shots and three goals on (14) shots and tried to change the momentum of the game," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said.

Steen unloaded a heavy slap shot from just inside the blue line and Stastny was at the net to redirect the puck past Lehtonen.

But Klingberg scored at 4-on-4 to tie it 3-3 with 1:25 remaining in the second when he waltzed through the Blues defense and despite getting some resistence from Stastny's stick, Klingberg able to get a shot off that beat Hutton.

"I didn't see it. He kind of whiffed on it, and then I was down and as it came through, I was late on it," Hutton said. "The third one is not one I want to give up, but I thought I battled, did what I needed to do and gave us a chance to win. I thought I made some really good saves in the third period. You keep it at 3-3 and then Bergy, who's been lights out makes a great tip and we hold on and win the game."

Hutton was clutch for the Blues in the third, making 11 saves after allowing three goals on 17 shots.

"I thought we needed a goalie in the third and we got three or four big saves," Hitchcock said.

The Blues outshot the Stars 13-7 in the first, but Dallas outshot the Blues 21-9 the rest of the way moving forward. The Stars were able to use their transition moving forward.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko celebrates after scoring against the Dallas
Stars on Saturday during a 4-3 victory at Scottrade Center.

"They made a good push because we stopped managing the puck," Hitchcock said. "We did a great job in the first twenty minutes -- that’s the best period we’ve played for a long time, and managing the puck is very similar to the second period in the Chicago game (Monday), and then we stopped doing it in the second. We gave up a goal because of it, and they got back into the game because of it. 

"It’s the discipline -- discipline with the puck -- and when we do it, there’s a lot of good clips in the first period that we should be really proud of. It causes you to take penalties. It causes frustration."

But the Blues will finally try and string together consecutive wins for the first time in over a month.

"We know we can win games, but now we need to find a way to find our identity again and start building and building games, getting on streaks and stuff like that," Berglund said. "We can't go on like this .500 thing. Great one today, but we've got to start to build. We've got to play the right way. Most of the game today, I think we do. Good things happen when we play the right way around people and get on the forecheck and get people doing it."

No comments:

Post a Comment