After back to back overtime victories the Blues were looking for an easier time in Arizona, where they had won 6 straight. After the first period it looked promising but push back from a young fast Coyote team almost forced a third overtime game in a row. Injuries to Alex Steen and Oliver Ekman-Larsson overshadowed a very entertaining game.
We saw more in the first minute of this game then in the last three games combined. Just 23 seconds in, Arizona Captain and the last of the original Winnipeg Jets Shane Doan surprised Brian Elliott with a quick wraparound.
Maybe not our night and maybe Elliott came back to Earth, then Tarasenko got the puck and drew a penalty on Ekman-Larsson who seemed to injury himself taking him down. Not one to waste much time shooting, Tarasenko ripped the puck by Louis Domingue for the tying goal just 1:08 into the game.
The Blues kept the pressure on and 3 minutes later Steen would fly down the wing and find the tiniest of holes in Domingue's game and fired the puck high glove side for a 2-1 lead.
The excitement would be short-lived for Steen, though, as he was run in hard to the ice and boards by Kevin Connauton minutes later and left the ice clutching his arm in pain. Steen would not return to the game and no news has come out as to what the injury could be.
The Blues would push on though and another failed attempt by Domingue to hold his post resulted in Jaden Schwartz netting his 3rd goal in the last 3 games. Tarasenko would throw a puck on net and it slipped through and fell on the goal line. Schwartz out-battled the Coyotes defensemen and slid the puck past the outstretched arm of Domingue for a 3-1 lead.
Not to be out done, Carl Gunarrsson got in on the goal scoring act after the Blues cycled in the zone for a good two minutes. After Robbie Fabbri kept the puck from being cleared, he laid a perfect pass to Gunarrsson who shot the puck looking for a Troy Brouwer tip. He got the deflection but it was from Connauton, not his teammate, and it put the Blues up 4-1 at the intermission.
Aside from the injury to Steen and the quick goal to open the game, this period was a great one for the Blues. Plenty of shots, good offensive zone time and a 4-1 lead, but could they hold it.
The second opened with more solid play from St. Louis as they held Arizona without a shot for the first 4 minutes. Elliott had to make a nifty save on Mikkel Boedker on that first shot and would have to make more as the game wore on and the Blues tried to hide. Shortly after a penalty to Joel Edmundson expired, Connauton would partially redeem himself by throwing a puck on net that Elliott was screened by.
Things got a bit chippy after that as Edmundson started to assert himself in the game like he usually does. Doan took exception to his play and the two would throw down behind the Coyotes net although neither really landed anything that could be labeled a punch.
After scoring on their first power play the Blues would end the second with consecutive power plays with very little being generated from them. The period wasn't a typical #ShittySecond, as the Blues out shot Arizona 12-10, but giving up a goal and not really having a flow let Arizona back into the game.
The start of the third didn't make fans feel any better. Max Domi, son of enforcer Tie Domi, is a bit more of a scorer than his dad and it showed in this period. Domi would pull the Yotes within one 50 seconds into the 3rd. The goal perked up the crowd and all of a sudden this game was far from over.
Arizona would continue to push and throw shots to the net but Elliott woke from his slumber to turn aside a few key shots. The Blues would regain the two goal advantage on a great passing play by Scottie Upshall. After the puck came out of the offensive zone, Upshall was able to slip the puck onside just ahead of Patrik Berglunds skates. He then threaded a pass to the front of the net where Berglund was streaking in. Berglund used his long reach to poke the puck just past Domingue for a 5-3 lead.
The rest of the third was normal back and forth, Arizona pushing for another goal while the Blues only took chances when they presented themselves. Arizona tried pulling their goalie multiple times in the final two minutes but it took until about a minute left before the finally got him to the bench for good. Once again Domi would be at the heart of a goal.
With a 6 on 5 advantage, the Coyotes finally got the zone pressure they wanted. After a bit of pinballing, the puck landed on Domi's stick who spun near the side of the net and just put the puck to the goal mouth. The puck would go off Jay Bouwmeester's skate and past Elliott who had no chance. Once again we were one goal away from another overtime.
But the boys were sick of playing extra hockey. They didn't allow Arizona back in their zone after Domi's goal and David Backes ended it for good when he potted an empty net goal with .03 seconds remaining in the game. While not a pretty victory and likely a costly one, it was still a victory and it pulled the Blues to within 1 point of Dallas and 2 points of Chicago.
The Blues play host to San Jose on Monday and look to exact a little revenge from a 3-1 loss at home earlier this month. We should also know more about Steen's injury by Monday at the latest.
#3 - Joel Edmundson: Assist, Fight and overall another solid, heavy presence on D. Threw in a few good shots too
#2 - Alex Steen: Goal and an Assist, only drawback was the injury and it happened early too
#1 - Vladimir Tarasenko: Goal and an Assist. Ho Hum another day at the office