ST. LOUIS — Two goals and an assist from Chris Stewart and the first career shutout for St. Louis Blues rookie goaltender Jake Allen.
While the first part of that equation from Thursday's 3-0 win over Phoenix is entirely believable given Stewart's history, Blues fans might have had trouble believing the second part when the season began.
Allen and Stewart have been providing much needed strength, stabilization and relief just when the Blues (15-10-2) seemed ready to meander toward the back of the Western Conference standings.
Now 7-1 as a starter, Allen has proven a solid fit for the Blues and will return to the net again Saturday against the Anaheim Ducks.
"We've still got a long ways to go," said Allen, who has a 2.33 goals-against average and .915 save percentage. "Every game's crucial. You never know when you could be in or you could be out, so you want to keep momentum going."
During his four-game winning streak, Allen has a 1.99 goals-against average and .933 save percentage. He also leads all NHL rookie netminders with seven wins and posted the first shutout by a Blues rookie since Ben Bishop (Feb. 25, 2011).
"It's great to see," Stewart said. "He's given us stability in net there and he's been standing on his head and making saves. He doesn't really panic. He's a down to earth, well-grounded kid."
Allen thinks getting steady playing time during the NHL lockout with the AHL's Peoria Rivermen helped him immensely.
"It's huge," said Allen, 13-18-2 with a 2.92 goals-against average and two shutouts in Peoria before the promotion. "That was a huge bonus for me, it was just another chance for me to learn and a chance for me to grow. It's my third year in Peoria and I've learned a lot down there, more ice time is best for me."
Allen collected shutouts in four of his first eight games with the Rivermen and needed just nine games to get his first NHL shutout.
"It's sort of a whirlwind the last month or so ... but I'm still taking it in stride," Allen said. "I'm really pleased with the way I've played and I couldn't ask for a better start. But I'm trying to stay even-keeled and trying to get ready for the next game on Saturday."
Stewart can't wait for his next game, either.
After seeing his production drop to 15 goals and 30 points in 79 games a year ago, he leads the Blues in scoring with 13 goals and 26 points through just 27 games. Stewart scored two goals in each of his last two games for the first time in his career and has six goals and 12 points in his last six contests.
"I'm not necessarily worried about the points, but I feel like I'm generating a lot of offense," Stewart said. "I'm getting a lot of opportunities on the rush."
After a so-so season a year ago that included Stewart twice being a healthy scratch in the playoffs, the Blues signed the 6-foot-2, 230-pound power forward to a one-year, $3 million contract. Stewart used the off-season to clear his mind, changing his diet and working with a personal fitness instructor. He dropped weight and added muscle and speed -- and the results are there on the ice for everyone to see.
"He put in all the work in the summer and did a great job, but he's competing," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "He's competing on every puck. He's not giving up on any pucks. He's not panicking under pressure, he's not thinking he should make another play."
Stewart is now on a line with David Backes and Alex Steen -- a line that produced all three goals and eight points Thursday.
"When you're a skill player and you compete at a high level, I don't know many that don't have success," Hitchcock said. "He has success because he's determined on the puck. He's a big, strong man that's learning how to compete at a high level -- and it's very good for us right now."