David Perron said he was feeling more confidence after his last game and it showed Saturday night in Dallas. Perron exploded in the 2nd period for 2 goals and an assist, helping the Blues come back form being down 2-1 after an ugly 1st period against the Dallas Stars.
The Blues were lucky to be down only 2-1 after a 1st period in which they were very weak on the puck, very sluggish and had a tough time in the transition game. Coach Hitchcock had made a statement before the game that he did not want to get into a track meet with the speedy Stars, but it looked like the Blues were often caught flat footed in the 1st period, particularly in their own zone. The Blues gave up an early power play goal and looked very poor playing the puck along the boards and trying to clear their own zone. The Blues lone goal was a bright spot as Wade Redden got his first of the season, his first with the Blues, and his first goal since 2010 which, incidentally, came against St. Louis while he played for the New York Rangers.
The Blues came out in the 2nd period looking much quicker, much stronger, and had all their forward lines putting nice pressure on Dallas. Andy McDonald, Alex Steen, and Vladimir Tarasenko moved the puck very well, creating some nice scoring chances early and Ryan Reaves and his line-mates, Scott Nichol and Vladimir Sobotka, continued their tight fore and back-checking, giving the Blues numerous opportunities for offensive zone face-offs. Perron looked like a man possessed as he was rushing the net, jumping on loose pucks in the corners, and skating circles, literally, around the Dallas defense. On his first goal he made a complete circuit of the zone, carrying the puck behind the net and back around out front before rifling a shot through a Reaves screen to tie the game.
The Stars did a very nice job of blocking shots throughout the game, but the Blues came on in the 2nd period, out-shooting Dallas 12-7 and Patrik Berglund did some tough work to win the puck and float a nifty pass across the crease to a streaking Chris Stewart to give the Blues a 3-2 lead. Perron continued his strong period, getting an assist on Stewie’s goal and then, after some nice stick-handling by Tarasenko to get the puck into the Dallas zone, Perron found the puck again and scored his second of the night.
Dallas made it close early in the 3rd period, getting a quick goal from Ryan Garbutt, but Perron had a little excitement left in him as he turned a partial breakaway into a short handed scoring chance, but couldn’t get the puck past Stars goalie, Cristopher Nilstorp, who ended up leaving the game due to a leg injury later in the period. Kari Lehtonen was sharp in relief, making a huge save on the first shot he faced, a point black effort by David Backes. The Blues looked to be on their heels somewhat in the last two minutes, with Dallas pulling their goalie and having the extra attacker. In the end, Jaro Halak stood tall and made a number of excellent saves to preserve the 4-3 victory. Dallas out shot St. Louis 11-10 in the 3rd period.
The Blues escaped with a win, giving them 8 points to stay 2 points back of first place Chicago. St. Louis travels back home for a game Sunday night against the Minnesota Wild and needs to do some major work in the face-off circle to avoid scrambling like they did in the 3rd period when nursing a one goal lead. Either that, or they need to keep scoring more goals. From the way they’ve looked at times already this season, more scoring shouldn’t be a problem.
GO BLUES! Long Live the Note!