November 1, 2014

Blues playing without Backes, Oshie and others find way to cool off Ducks. Allen earns the shutout in net

Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson loses track of the puck as the St. Louis Blues attack in the first period at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on October 30, 2014. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson loses track of the puck as the St. Louis Blues attack in the first period at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on October 30, 2014. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Alexander Steen scored a goal in the first period and Jake Allen stopped all 24 shots for his second NHL shutout in the Blues’ 2-0 win against the first place Anaheim Ducks at Scottrade Center on Thursday night.

The Blues found a way to grind out a win without a few top contributors.  David Backes, T.J. Oshie, Paul Stastny and Joakim Lindstrom all missed the game.  Backes and Oshie each have been diagnosed with a concussion after they sustained injuries Tuesday against the Dallas Stars. Stastny (shoulder) missed his fifth consecutive game, and Lindstrom became missed because of a bacterial infection the Blues have dealt with over the past two weeks.

“You lose those four key offensive additions and key parts of our team, our captain, but to be able to see guys from my perspective step up, watching them out there, [Maxim Lapierre], [Ryan Reaves], [Chris Porter], [Magnus Paajarvi],  those guys filled those guys’ roles. … I had to do my part,” Allen said. “Every team in the League is going to have losses (to injuries) all season long, and unfortunately we have them right now.”

Lapierre assisted on Reeves goal early in the third to give the Blues the 2-0 lead.

The Ducks knew the Blues would come out hard, but didn’t respond.

“We didn’t work,” Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said. “It doesn’t matter what you do. If you are standing still in this league, you can’t make plays. It’s a pretty simple explanation. We were standing around watching. It’s all mental. Our responsibility as professionals is to be ready to play. You can make mistakes on the ice, but not moving our legs, not being mental between the ears is our fault.”

Blues go on a goal scoring spurt in final minutes of the second period, then hold off Hawks

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Antti Raanta watches a St.Louis Blues goal in the first period at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on October 25, 2014. UPI/Robert Cornforth

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Antti Raanta watches a St.Louis Blues goal in the first period at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on October 25, 2014. UPI/Robert Cornforth

Ryan Reaves and Dmitrij Jaskin scored 1:45 apart in the last two minutes of the second period to give the St. Louis Blues a two goal advantage at the second intermission.  The Blues then hold on for a 3-2 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday at Scottrade Center, ending a two game losing streak.

Jaden Schwartz also scored a goal, Brian Elliott stopped 22 shots, including one shot on a late powerplay and holding off the Hawks when they pulled their goalie for an extra attacker.

Alex Pietrangelo had two assists for the Blues, who improved to 3-3-1.

Chicago got a goal and an assist from Patrick Sharp and a goal from Kris Versteeg, for the second game in a row.  Antti Raanta made 28 saves filling in for the injured Corey Crawford.

Ryan Miller returns to St. Louis and makes 31 saves as Canucks top the Blues (AUDIO)

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller comes up with the puck in his glove hand  after a shot by the St. Louis Blues in the first period at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on October 23, 2014.    UPI/BIll Greenblatt

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller comes up with the puck in his glove hand after a shot by the St. Louis Blues in the first period at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on October 23, 2014. UPI/BIll Greenblatt

After spending 11 years in Buffalo, goaltender Ryan Miller came over to St. Louis in a trade mid-season last year and didn’t play against the Sabres when the Blues faced them later in the season.  This was Miller’s first start against a former team and he called it interesting.  A matchup he was looking forward to.

“I’ve never done that before. I’ve never had a chance to play against a former team like that,” said Miller.  “A lot of good guys on the [Blues]; it was one that I was actually really looking forward to, especially here in St. Louis. It was fun.”

Miller stopped 31 shots for his new team as the Vancouver Canucks beat the Blues 4-1.

Chris Higgins scored 41 seconds into the game to give Vancouver the early lead, and Kevin Shatterkirk tied it in the second on a powerplay goal.  The game was close and the Blues had a great opportunity to grab the lead early in the third, but Miller came up big.

He got the left pad out on a tough shot from the right circle from Blues center Jori Lehtera. That sent Nick Bonino going the other way on a 3 on 1 and he beat Blues goalie Jake Allen with a wrist shot from the left circle at 4:54 of the third period.

The Canucks scored three third-period goals on four shots. Linden Vey scored from the slot at 11:57 for a 3-1 Vancouver lead, and Jannik Hansen scored an empty-net goal to seal the game for the Canucks.

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock is not happy with the number of turnovers in the neutral zone.

“We’ve made a heck of a run here playing the right way; no odd-man rushes, no forced offense, don’t give the puck away and make hope-for plays offensively. We’ve had a shoot-first mentality that’s allowed us to be top-five in the League in scoring goals, but we don’t want to play the right way. We want to play a different game right now, so until we buy into that, we’re going to have some rough water we’re going to have to go through, and that’s what we’re in right now. We’re in rough water.”

Late goal by the defending Eastern Conference champs sends Blues to a loss in season opener

New York Rangers Rick Nash (61) is congratulated by teammates after scoring the winning goal in the third period against the St. Louis Blues at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on October 9, 2014. New York won the game 3-2.  UPI/Bill Greenblatt

New York Rangers Rick Nash (61) is congratulated by teammates after scoring the winning goal in the third period against the St. Louis Blues at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on October 9, 2014. New York won the game 3-2. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

The St. Louis Blues started their 2014-15 season at home on Thursday night against the New York Rangers and lost 3-2 on a late goal from Rangers forward Rick Nash, who scored two on the night.

Nash scored the game winner with 1:50 left in regulation after Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo’s clearing attempt took a funny carom off the left boards. The puck hit a stanchion and came out to the high slot. The puck landed at the skates of Rangers forward Martin St. Louis, who flipped a pass to Nash who beat  Blues goalie Brian Elliott over his stick.

Nash scored the first goal of the game in the first period tucking a wrist shot under the right pad of Elliott after the Blues also turned the puck over.

Game recap from Mike Reeves at Scottrade Center

Paul Stastny, who signed a four-year, $28 million contract with the Blues this offseason left the game in the second period when he took a knee to his thigh from defenseman Dan Girardi.  He returned and was credited with scoring the tying goal midway through the third period.

Brian Elliott made 22 saves in the loss.

The NHL is back! After another disappointing early exit from the playoffs, the Blues open at home against the Eastern Conference Champions

Blues newcomer Paul Stastny returns to his hometown with hopes of bring St. Louis the first Stanley Cup in franchise history. (UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Blues newcomer Paul Stastny returns to his hometown with hopes of bring St. Louis the first Stanley Cup in franchise history. (UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The New York Rangers bull rushed their way through the Eastern Conference before running into the red hot, opportunistic Los Angeles Kings, who took last year’s Stanley Cup.  As the 2014-15 season begins tonight for the St. Louis Blues, they host the Rangers, a team they swept in the season series a year ago.  In fact, the Blues have won seven of eight against the Rangers.

For the second season in a row, the Blues were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs, getting dumped by Chicago in six games.  Gone is goalie Ryan Miller, who left for Vancouver via free agency, and back home is center Paul Stastny.  The Blues needed an upgrade at that position and they signed the St. Louis native away from Colorado with a four-year deal.

Back to the lead the Blues offensively are Vladimir Tarasenko (21 goals, 43 points in 64 games) and Alex Steen, who led St. Louis with career-highs of 33 goals and 62 points last season.

St. Louis Blues ’14-’15 starting roster

Longtime backup Brian Elliott will get a chance to prove himself as a starter, but he’ll also be challenged by frequent call-up Jake Allen, who was outstanding last year in the minors.  The Blues front office said it was time for Allen to prove his worth in St. Louis.  By not signing Miller, it allowed the club to spend and upgrade other areas.

Look for Elliott and Allen to share starts early in the season as Ken Hitchcock finds which goalie is ready to take the lion’s share of the schedule.