Revenge: Blues blank New Jersey

News-DemocratJanuary 28, 2014 

— The St. Louis Blues couldn't keep anything out of their own net last week in a humiliating 7-1 road loss to the New Jersey Devils.

Seven days later in St. Louis, Jaroslav Halak turned away 23 shots and his teammates blocked 19 more as the Blues flipped the switch on the Devils in a 3-0 victory.

"You can't dwell for weeks at a time on one game," said Alexander Steen, whose goal Tuesday was his 27th this season and seventh game-winner. "It's kind of put it in the garbage and keep going."

It was Halak's fourth shutout this season and 29th of his career, 20 with the Blues. Halak entered the previous Devils game in relief of starter Brian Elliott, but neither had much success on a night when the opposition scored seven times.

"It was a really weird game when we played in Jersey," said Halak, 4-0 in his last four starts a goals-against average below 1.50. "Everything seemed like (it) went in. It seemed like everything they touched... was a scoring chance. We just couldn't react, we were just standing there.

"I think can speak for myself, I was hoping the game was over after the second period. Tonight was a different game."

Now 7-1-1 in his last nine starts, Halak has posted a 1.77 goals-against average and .940 save percentage during that span.

Halak credited his teammates for blocking so many shots Tuesday. Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk led the way with four and Alex Pietrangelo, Ian Cole and Roman Polak had three blocked each.

"Tonight there were a lot of great blocks from all the guys, just a huge performance," Halak said.

The Blues (36-11-5), now 30-1-3 this season when scoring the first goal, carried a 1-0 lead into the third period and hoped for the best.

Brenden Morrow created some breathing room when he deflected in a shot by Jay Bouwmeester for a power-play goal and Maxim Lapierre flipped a backhander into an empty net with 2:08 remaining to clinch it.

"They've got a lot of guys that have been around for a long time," Bouwmeester said after the Blues improved to 9-0 at home against the Eastern Conference. "Tonight they were just sort of sticking around and sticking around; they did a good job of not making the big mistakes that lead to goals.

"I think if you can be comfortable in low-scoring games like that, it feels good and it builds confidence."

Lapierre's goal came after the Devils had pulled goaltender Cory Schneider for an extra attacker. Right after the goal, Blues defenseman Roman Polak fought with New Jersey's Ryane Clowe.

Trying to build on their 1-0 lead, the Blues got a golden opportunity in the third period when Vladimir Tarasenko was turned away on a sparkling save by Schneider.

But a few minutes later, Morrow deflection goal made it 2-0 and the Blues were on their way to a victory.

It was the eighth goal for Morrow, who had gone 11 games since scoring his last one on Jan. 2 against the Kings.

Bouwmeester's assist on the play made him the ninth member of the Blues to reach 30 or more points, the most of any team in the league.

Breaking in on a 3-on-2 and using David Backes as a screen, Steen took a pass from Jaden Schwartz and beat Schneider with a high shot for his 27th goal (fourth in the NHL) and 100th as a member of the Blues.

It also gave Steen three goals and seven points during a five-game points streak.

After the game, Steen was told he was still quite a few goals ahead of former Blues player and current radio color analyst Kelly Chase.

"I hope I get a plaque," joked Steen. "I thought we played better than we did against these guys the last time, but I still think there's a few things we can tidy up even better on. Jaro came up big when we made mistakes tonight, so credit to him.

"He played a heck of a game for us."

Blues forward Vladimir Sobotka rang a shot off the goalpost during a 2-on-1 break for the Blues with 4:50 remaining in the second period.

The Devils were coming off a 7-3 loss to the Rangers on Sunday in an outdoor game at Yankee Stadium. New Jersey surrendered six straight goals after grabbing a 3-1 lead on the Rangers.

Jagr's two assists Sunday helped him pass Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux to take over 10th place on the NHL's all-time assist list.


* The Blues honored Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Big Red offensive line star Dan Dierdorf, who retired as an NFL broadcaster on CBS television. Dierdorf received a loud ovation when shown on the video scoreboard wearing a Blues jersey with his name on the back.

* Blues equipment manager Bert Godin worked his 2,200th NHL game Tuesday.

Contact reporter Norm Sanders at 239-2454, or on Twitter @NormSanders

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