Stars had better of play in third period with Blues trying to protect two-goal
lead; grabbing 2-0 series lead would be big when series shifts to Dallas
ST. LOUIS -- It was a win, one that gave the Blues a 1-0 lead against the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference second round series.
But the Blues know that Game 2, slated for Saturday at 2 p.m. (NBC, KYKY 98.1-FM), will have to be a better one than the 3-2 win in Game 1 on Thursday.
|(St. Louis Blues photo)|
Tyler Bozak (right) said the Blues want to have a better game against the
Stars and defenseman Taylor Fedun (42) on Saturday.
"It's tough," center Tyler Bozak said Friday. "Obviously, they're a really good team. It's the third period and they're down a couple goals, so they're going to press pretty hard. So you've got to think defense first and in those scenarios obviously, you want to play with the puck as much as you can in the o-zone. They're rolling their top guys out there and they're extremely good players. They're going to get their chances. I thought Binner did a great job and I thought our D did a great job."
Jordan Binnington made 16 of his 27 saves in the third period when the Stars outshot the Blues 17-6, and a number of key saves came after Vladimir Tarasenko scored the second of his two goals to give the Blues a 3-1 lead.
The Blues settled in and decided to try and protect that two-goal lead rather than continue to push the envelope leading to the notion that a two-goal lead is the most dangerous.
"I'll take a two-goal lead any day if that's possible," Bozak said. "I don't really think about that. I'd rather have a two-goal lead than a one-goal lead, that's for sure. Obviously, we can do a lot of things better than we did last game and good teams find a way to win and we found a way to win and that's huge to get the first one for us."
The Stars outshot the Blues 29-20 for the game and found some positives themselves in pushing to the end. Jamie Benn, who scored a power-play goal with 2 minutes 17 seconds left to make it a 3-2 game, nearly tied it but he fanned on a swinging shot at an airborne puck in the closing seconds from close range after the puck was centered.
"We started playing better," Stars center Tyler Seguin said. "We showed some good stuff. We’re happy with some of the things we did in the game, but we also know there’s a lot of areas that need improving."
It was a game of momentum swings throughout for both teams, with each grabbing the bull by the horns.
The Stars opened the game quickly and pinned the Blues back before Robby Fabbri scored on their first shot of the game on St. Louisan Ben Bishop at 5:57 of the first period to get St. Louis settled in.
"A deep breath, a weight lifted off my shoulders," Fabbri said of scoring for the first time in 25 games. "I knew it had been a while, I didn't know it was 24 games, I didn't want to look. At this time of year, it's not about goals, I'm happy coming out of games doing the little things if it's not getting on the scoreboard."
Then when the Blues had their moments, they worked the puck in cycle form in the Stars' end and created plenty of offensive zone time.
"I think they probably had a few more than us to be honest," Bozak said. "I didn't think we got off to the start we wanted. Obviously 'Binner' held us in it and got a big goal from 'Fabs' that kind of boosted us and I think we kind of took over a bit. It's two really defensive teams that don't give up a lot. Two really good goaltenders. There's not going to be a ton of shots throughout the whole series as some of those other series you see. We've got to capitalize on our chances and when you get a guy like Vladi [Tarasenko] getting opportunities, pretty happy with that."
Some of the little things for the Blues to find success would be to fluidly move throughout their zone and crisply get pucks out and past the Stars' quick forecheck.
|(St. Louis Blues photo)|
Brayden Schenn (10) and the Blues would like to generate more than 20
shots on goal against Ben Bishop (30) and the Dallas Stars on Saturday.
"I think that's more on us," defenseman Carl Gunnarsson said. "We know we have to be better tomorrow. But we're playing a good team. We just have to focus on ourselves and just take another step. We know that wasn't good enough but we got the win, we're happy with that, but we have to keep improving."
The Blues will be looking for their second 2-0 series lead in these playoffs. They won the first two games in Winnipeg in the first round before the Jets came to Enterprise Center and took two, only to see the Blues win in Winnipeg again and close the series out in six.
"It's tight out there. It's tough hockey, physical hockey," Blues interim coach Craig Berube said. "There were some big hits (in Game 1). They're a good team. They've got size, really good players. It's going to be a tight series. What you saw [Thursday] is what you're going to see."
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