Saturday, October 7, 2017

Blues improve to 2-0 with 4-2 win over Stars

Gunnarsson, Edmundson, Schwartz score goals five 
minutes apart in first period; Allen comes up large with 38 saves

ST. LOUIS -- With Blues skaters going down faster than flies to start the season due to injury, the early scuttlebutt is that they'd have a hard time finding scoring.

Yes, it's only two games, but the Blues have done a sufficient job in not only creating scoring opportunities but putting their chances away.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Blues left wing Jaden Schwartz (17) scores on Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen
during a 4-2 Blues victory at Scottrade Center on Saturday night.

No Alexander Steen? No problem. 

No Robby Fabbri? No problem.

No Patrik Berglund? No Zach Sanford? No Jay Bouwmeester? 

So far, so good.

Carl Gunnarsson, Joel Edmundson and Jaden Schwartz scored first-period goals in a five-minute span and helped the Blues defeat the Dallas Stars 4-2 at Scottrade Center on Saturday before a sold-out crowd of 18,858.

Schwartz had a goal and assist, Alex Pietrangelo and Brayden Schenn each had two assists and Vladimir Tarasenko scored for St. Louis (2-0-0). Jake Allen made 38 saves.

"In game one, I thought we capitalized in some rush situations and I wasn't expecting a lot of that tonight," Blues coach Mike Yeo said. "After the first three, four minutes, we settled in and we found a way to get to the offensive zone."

Gunnarsson made it 1-0 at 9:50 by banking a shot off Stars defenseman Dan Hamhuis. It was Gunnarsson's first goal in 62 games; he last scored on March 25, 2016 against the Vancouver Canucks.

"That was a while ago," Gunnarsson said with a grin. "Let’s not talk about that.

"It's always fun. They started off pretty hot, but that goal and then after I think we did a pretty good job in the first period."

Edmundson scored at 11:14 to make it 2-0 on a shot from the left circle off a pass from Alex Pietrangelo. Pietrangelo faked a shot from the point before finding his defensive partner coming down the left circle. Lehtonen committed to the shot and gave Edmundson the open side to shoot at.

The goal was the Blues' seven goal of the season, and five of them came from defensemen.

"That's not bad," Gunnarsson said. "I'll take that any day. Let's just try to keep it rolling."

Schwartz made it 3-0 at 14:50 off a pass from Dmitrij Jaskin. Schenn was able to collect a puck along the right wall and found Jaskin in the high slot. Jaskin pulled the puck to his backhand and flipped it to Schwartz, who was able to pull it past Lehtonen before slamming the puck into an empty side.

"We've got some guys that are pretty creative down (in the offensive zone)," Pietrangelo said. "There's some pretty good chemistry on those lines.

"They played last night, so the goal was to try and get on them quick and wear them down from the start. Obviously, it's the way you want to start every game."

Allen was on top of his game. He made several key saves, including a sprawling glove save on Stars captain Jamie Benn with 7.7 seconds remaining in the first to preserve a 3-0 lead and prevented Dallas from gaining momentum.

"Just get across and get a glove on it," Allen said. "He got some good wood on it. I just got a glove there.

"That's the key when you get a big lead. I think you try to limit the other team's momentum." 

The Stars (0-2-0) lost 2-1 at home Friday to the Vegas Golden Knights in the Knights' first regular-season game in the NHL.

"I thought we'd be better in our zone under pressure and that's where I thought we did ourselves in," said Stars coach Ken Hitchcock, who returned after coaching in St. Louis for six seasons (2011-17) and received a video tribute in the first period. "We had a great start to the game. The first 10 to 12 minutes was exactly what we wanted. We showed some flashes and then we showed some 'back to the drawing board' stuff too."

Hitchcock looked up at the scoreboard and tapped his heart twice acknowledging the fans.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Blues goalie Jake Allen makes one of his 38 saves during the Blues' 4-2 
victory over the Dallas Stars on Saturday.

"I know this is a special place," he said. "You spend six years here and you're in the playoffs every year. It's pretty special. Obviously I had a great relationship with the people here so it was a fun place."

John Klingberg scored a power-play goal for Dallas at 2:48 of the third period to make it 3-1, and Mattias Janmark scored at 13:11 to make it 4-2.

Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen made 17 saves. 

With the win, the Blues prevented Hitchcock from tying Al Arbour for third all-time in coaching wins. Hitchcock remains at 751.

The Blues are 24-8-2 during the regular season under Yeo since he took over for Hitchcock on Feb. 1.

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