ST. LOUIS - On the second night of back-to-back games after getting back from the high altitude of Colorado, the Blues came out sluggish and disorganized against the Coyotes.
With the news that David Backes and Jake Allen would miss the remainder of the season, a loss Monday night would have put the Blues within striking distance of the Blackhawks with the possibility of losing home ice advantage.
St. Louis surrendered two weak goals to a young Arizona team and went into the locker room ready to regroup and re-energize.
“We were just not as sharp as we're used to being,” said Kyle Brodziak. “And sometimes that happens on the end of a back-to-back. The energy in the room after the first was really good and we just got ourselves refocused.”
The Blues picked up the tempo firing 11 shots on goal in the second and one found the back of the net. Alex Pietrangelo directed a puck at the net that bounced off Troy Brouwer’s stick to cut the club’s deficit in half.
“It's a young team. We knew if we could get a couple on them and keep the pressure on them that we could put them back on their heels,” Pietrangelo said.
Brian Elliott faced only four shots but they were lethal as the goaltender turned away 16 shots through the final two periods.
“Moose did a great job for us when it was 2-0 and the way we were playing it probably could have been a little worse than that,” Brodziak continued. “Even in the second period he made some big saves for us to give us a chance to climb back into the game. I think really the whole second period we really started to find our game.”
The comeback got a boost a minute and a half into the third. The Blues had to fight off a penalty to begin the period. Pietrangelo tried to clear the puck when it bounced to Brodziak who won positioning on Oliver Ekman-Larsson and went top shelf.
“It was a fortunate bounce on the penalty kill that turned out to be a goal,” Brodziak described of his sixth goal of the season and third shorthanded.
“Especially shorthanded that's a big penalty kill for us to come up with that point in the game. That's big for us,” Pietrangelo added. “It certainly put them back on their heels.”
And the Coyotes had a great view nine minutes later watching superstar Vladimir Tarasenko start with the puck below his own blue line and skate to the left faceoff firing a wicked wrister high over Smith. Tarasenko’s 37th of the year also brought the winger his 70th point.
“Just give him space and he’ll do what he has to do. Just don’t get in his way,” Pietrangelo said when describing the team’s reaction once Tarasenko gets into open space.
The Blues tallied two more goals, a one-timer on the power play from Patrik Berglund and another from Brodziak, scoring five unanswered goals. Previously Arizona had posted a 21-1-2 record when leading after two periods.
“We believe in each other down the bench,” Pietrangelo added. “We thought we could win the game down two. We got into that second period knowing we have an opportunity to come out and score on the power play there gave us hope. We just kept pushing, pushing, pushing rolling four lines and six D.”
The two points brings St. Louis even with the Stars at the top of the Central with 105 points in 80 games played. The Blues play Chicago on Thursday and Washington on Saturday while the Stars play Colorado Thursday and Nashville Saturday.