Thursday, December 7, 2017

Allen, Blues blank Stars 3-0

Goalie ties Glenn Hall for third on franchise all-time list 
with 16th NHL shutout; Schenn, Parayko add power-play goals

ST. LOUIS -- Ask Jake Allen about milestones, he just brushes them off. 

No big deal. Wins are all that matter to the Blues goaltender, and wins against rugged Central Division foes, make victories even sweeter.

Allen was sharp in a 29-save shutout, and it was his first of the season and 16th of his NHL career which tied him with Glenn Hall for third on the Blues' all-time franchise list in a 3-0 victory against the Dallas Stars on Thursday before 16,341 at Scottrade Center.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Jake Allen (left) makes one of his 29 saves in front of Stars' Devin Shore in 
a 3-0 Blues victory over Dallas on Thursday.

Next on the list for Allen, who helped the Blues improve to 19-8-2 overall and into first place in the Central Division, is Jaroslav Halak, who is second with 20. Good friend Brian Elliott tops the Blues' franchise leaderboard in shutouts with 25.

"It's pretty cool," Allen said. "I think it was a lot harder for Glenn to make shutouts back in the day than it is for us. I'll take it, and it's pretty cool to have that under my belt and hopefully I get a lot more in the next few years."

It was business as usual for Allen, but it was anything but business-like. The Blues recalled goalie Ville Husso from the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League to back up Allen after Carter Hutton apparently sustained a lower-body injury during the morning skate.

So the Blues had to rush Husso from San Antonio to St. Louis, and in the meantime, local goalie Tyler Stewart, who played for the St. Louis University men's club hockey team, was thrust into action and signed a amateur tryout agreement to be Allen's backup until Husso arrived.

Stewart, wearing jersey No. 98, took warmups and was in the back in case he was needed. Husso arrived with 5 minutes, 9 seconds remaining in the first period.

"I didn't really get the chance to speak to Tyler," Allen said. "He didn't get here until late, right before warmups, so I just said a quick hello and all I knew Ville was here after the first period. 

"It's the way it goes. I've been in that situation before. You're in and out quick, you're in one city, you're on a plane and next thing you know, you're backing up. It's the way it goes. 'Hutts' just needs a little rest tonight.

"... It's one of those situations where you've seen before in the league where there's been times when both goalies are hurt and I think the league's done a good job with that safety net now. It's pretty cool to see guys get chances like that."

Allen was backed by special teams' play, which were crucial for the Blues on this night with two power-play goals on seven tries and a penalty kill that was 2-for-2.

Brayden Schenn and Colton Parayko scored power-play tallies, and Vladimir Tarasenko added the icing with an empty-netter late for the Blues, who jumped over Nashville into first place in the Central Division with 40 points.

Allen's shutout was his third against the Stars in 11 games.

"Jake I thought was really good tonight," Blues coach Mike Yeo said. "He was sharp, engaged and focused right from the start."

Kari Lehtonen made 24 saves for the Stars (16-12-1), who have lost two in a row after a five-game winning streak.

As much as the Blues benefited from their power play, the Stars were hurt by the penalties they took, including four high-sticking minors.

"I think it's more why we took the penalties," Stars coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We took the penalties because we were second place to the puck. They won the race and we took the penalty because of it. We got beat, got beat to a lot of the races on the penalties we took. Poor stick positioning, poor sticks. Any momentum we started to build, we got it taken away with penalties."

Schenn's 14th of the season and fourth in two games gave the Blues a 1-0 lead at 13:39 of the first period off a rebound to the right of Lehtonen. Schenn had a hat trick in a 4-3 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday.

"That's just a great play by [Alexander Steen] where he was able to get a puck through and I think me and [Dmitrij Jaskin] 2-on-1 pretty much in front of the net," Schenn said. "... It's good to get a couple. I still think execution could be better. We can still find ways to be better. We had a lot of chances but at the end of the day you get two."

The Blues had four power-play attempts in the first period, including a 5-on-3 for 1:14, but did not score.

Stephen Johns almost tied it in the final second of the second period. His shot hit Allen and popped over the goalie into the net, but after the horn sounded. Video review confirmed the puck went in after the period ended.

"The horn's always delayed in every arena," Allen said. "It's usually a second delayed, so you always know once the horn ... the puck's in the net is probably the same time as the horn, so you always know it's late."

Parayko scored on a one-timer from the blue line at 5:01 of the third period, the Blues' second power-play goal. Paul Stastny set a screen in front of Lehtonen.

"They kind of went out to [Patrik Berglund] on the wall, and they were already on [Tarasenko] on the other side," Parayko said. "So it kind of seemed like I was alone in the middle. Great net front by our team."
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Paul Stastny (left) looks to redirect a puck on goal in front of Stars
goalie Kari Lehtonen on Thursday.

Tarasenko scored an empty-net goal with 48 seconds remaining, his first goal in seven games, 13th of the season, but the emphasis was on getting Allen the goose egg.

"For sure. That's obviously an emphasis," Parayko said. "We want to play for Jake and those moments he stood on his head. ... He played outstanding. Made some big saves at big times and kept us in the game."

* NOTES -- The Blues made two lineup changes, inserting Vince Dunn in on defense for Robert Bortuzzo and Chris Thorburn in for Sammy Blais. Blais was assigned to San Antonio in a corresponding move when the Blues recalled Husso.

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