ST. LOUIS — The improbable is becoming all too familiar when rookie goalie Jake Allen is in net for the St. Louis Blues.
Allen stopped 28 shots Thursday for his first career shutout, winning for the seventh time in eight decisions in a 3-0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes.
He got plenty of defensive and offensive help from his teammates as Chris Stewart scored two goals and Alex Steen added a goal and two assists in his first game back from a shoulder injury.
"I'm just trying to make the most of my opportunity," said Allen, who had the game puck tucked away carefully in his glove for framing purposes later. "I didn't know when I was going to get a chance in my career and when I did get that chance, I didn't want to let it slide.
"I wanted to make the most of it. This is your dream, this is where you want to be."
The win was the fourth in five games for the Blues (15-10-2), who are slowly rebuilding a tighter defensive unit while finding a bit more offense from some of their top forwards.
"This was more of a team shutout," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "This looked like us, this looked like our team. I think there's a collective dig-in going on between the coaches and the players now."
Allen was challenged twice in the opening period with Coyotes buzzing in on him or around him. He came up big both times.
He got his arm on a shot by Matthew Lombardi, who broke in along on left wing, and also kept his pads solid with Antoine Vermette hammering away at a loose puck later in the period.
Stewart continued his steady assault on the back of the net with a second-period goal that gave his team a 1-0 lead.
Stewart -- who also had two goals Tuesday -- now has six goals and 12 points in his last six games and keeps working to place himself in the right scoring areas.
He also leads the team in scoring with 13 goals and 26 points in 27 games.
On his first goal a shot by Blues captain David Backes deflected off Phoenix defenseman Derek Morris and came right to the front of the net, where Stewart quickly made his deposit.
Backes also had two assists and the entire line was a thorn in the Coyotes' side with its combination of size, strength and skill.
"I think the biggest thing for us is we put our work ahead of skill," Stewart said. "We know we can make plays when they're there, but as a guideline we like to get pucks deep, get down there and generate off the cycle."
Steen pushed the Blues' lead to 2-0 after he got the rebound of his own shot attempt off a Phoenix player in the high slot. Steen regained possession, turned and fired a quick shot on net that eluded Smith for his fifth goal and first since Feb. 15.
Steen had missed the previous eight games with a shoulder injury.
"Spin and shoot, it's just lucky it goes in," Steen said. "It's nice to get timely goals like that."
Steen got just over 19 minutes of ice time in his first game back and quickly began producing offense.
"That's a lot of credit to my two linemates tonight," he said. "Backes and Stewart had a heck of a game. I tried keeping it simple, but those two guys carried me tonight."
Stewart made it 3-0 with 5:29 remaining after some aggressive forechecking by Steen. Stewart picked up the loose puck and set up in the left faceoff circle, sending a wicked wrist shot blazing past Smith's glove.
"He's playing great," Steen said. "That third goal ... that's a great shot. He picks his corner and it's heavy, too. You can't stop that."
Stewart actually put a lot of thought into the shot, going back to some video homework he did earlier in the day.
"I saw on the video earlier today that (Ryan) Getzlaf beat him on the same shot on the glove there," Stewart said. "That's where I was going, high glove."
About the only downer from the Blues' standpoint was an 0-for-5 night on the power play, dropping them to 3-for-37 in their previous 13 games. After scoring four power play goals in five chances during the season opener against Detroit, the Blues went on a 19-for-53 power play spree through their first 14 games (36 percent) and led the NHL.
As the Blues lead grew and the victory seemed secure, Allen began thinking about the shutout.
"The win was crucial first for me," he said, "but when I realized there was a couple minutes left and you're up 3-0 I really wanted to bear down. The guys did a great job in the third period; they played so well defensively."