ST. LOUIS - In a potential preview of the first round of the playoffs, the Blues survived seven penalties and a late rally by the Stars to take two points and an overtime win 2-1 at Scottrade.
During a span of eight minutes in the first period, St. Louis committed four of their seven penalties affording Dallas dangerous duo of Jamie Benn (64 points) and Tyler Seguin (63 points) plenty of free space. However, the Note penalty killers held the opposing skaters to three shots on the four power plays.
“We were able to work on them early and frustrate them,” Kevin Shattenkirk said. “I think you could kind of see that play into their game. They were kind of over thinking it a little bit. We know they’re a power play that can answer the bell at any time. We were able to just keep some of their weapons from having a big game.”
The Blues survived the first period scoreless, even out-shooting the Stars 5-3, before Dallas returned the favor in the second by sending four skaters to the sin bin. But in similar fashion, the Blues were unable to convert on any extra-man advantage.
“It wasn’t the best on the stat sheet from our power play,” Shattenkirk added. “I thought we had a couple of good chances though. It seemed like it was one of those games where both power plays, they kind of were stymied early and then everyone was starting to play outside the play book.”
And that was how the Blues tallied their first goal. Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen attempted to play a puck in his own zone, but the hard shot bounced off referee Dan O’Halloran’s elbow and landed near the goal crease with Jaden Schwartz standing on the doorstep. In his third game back from injury, the 23-year-old winger buried the puck and gave his team the lead just 12 seconds into the period.
“I didn’t even see it,” Schwartz described the play. “I don’t know what happened. I was skating and it landed on my stick. A really fortunate bound and a pretty easy goal.”
Despite playing back-to-back nights, the Stars pushed back with their own goal at the 13:26 mark of the third period to tie the game. Then the Blues took a late penalty as Carl Gunnarsson was dinged for a high-sticking infraction with two minutes remaining. The penalty kill remained stalwart keeping the Stars from setting up any play. And with 15 seconds remaining, Alexander Steen drew an interference call sending his team on a power play that would carry into overtime.
“I looked at the clock and realized we only had about 10 seconds left. You’d like to win it there, but we all kind of knew we were going to go 4-on-3 to start the overtime period,” Shattenkirk added.
The Blues lost the initial OT face-off and had a hard time trying to get the puck in the offensive zone. One forward change later, Shattenkirk riffled one to the back of the net and sent the 18,000 fans in attendance home cheering.
The win gives St. Louis 75 points, just five behind first-place Dallas. In addition, the Blues have earned nine points in their last five games - a run that’s bringing a boost of confidence inside the locker room.
“I think we’re building something really well here,” said Shattenkirk, whose game winning goal brings his season total to double digits. “We had two good games on the road. Obviously tonight was a great game. We’re building a lot of momentum here. The points are going to come if we keep playing like there.”