Game Report: Blues 4, Canadiens 2
By Nicholas Hand
Patrik Berglund recorded the first hat trick in his NHL career Saturday night to lead the Blues to their fourth consecutive win on their current road trip, defeating the Canadiens in Montreal.
The win matched the Blues’ longest winning streak of the season and improved their record to 5-1 since they changed coaches, replacing Ken Hitchcock with Mike Yeo.
David Perron also scored for the Blues and Jake Allen stopped 28 of 30 shots as the Blues moved three points ahead of the Nashville Predators for the third seed in the Central Division.
The Blues took an early lead on Berglund’s 15th goal of the season 3:49 into the contest. Alex Pietrangelo and Jaden Schwartz assisted on the goal as Canadiens goaltender Al Montoya lost his balance challenging Pietrangelo on a presumed shot.
Pietrangelo recognized Montoya’s fall and centered a shot-pass to Berglund who redirected the puck into the net.
Montreal evened the score at one late in the first period on a booming slap shot by Shea Weber for his 13th of the season with 3:21 remaining.
Perron gave the Blues a 2-1 lead 7:20 into the second period on a slick play following assists by Jori Lehtera and Kevin Shattenkirk. Perron kicked a drop pass from Lehtera in the high slot to his stick and wristed the puck past Montoya for the Blues second lead of the evening and his 12th goal of the season.
Failed clearing attempts in the Blues own zone contributed to the Canadiens second goal of the game as Max Pacioretty redirected a Nathan Beaulieu shot in front of the net at 12:55 for a 2-2 tie.
Berglund’s second goal of the game gave the Blues a 3-2 lead with just 25 seconds remaining in the second period.
Pietrangelo provided the Blues strong possession behind the net and then found Jay Bouwmeester at the top of the zone who sent a shot towards the net that was deflected by Berglund past Montoya for a 3-2 lead.
The third period featured a team effort to keep the Canadiens off the scoreboard. The Blues blocked a season-high 24 shots by the Canadiens and none were bigger than back-to-back blocked shots by Jori Lehtera on Weber’s hard slap shots during a penalty kill midway through the third period after Scottie Upshall took a high-sticking minor at 8:52.
The penalty kill seemed to spark the Blues who played solid the rest of the way behind 16 third period saves by Allen.
An empty net goal by Berglund with 1:01 remaining completed the hat trick and was his 17th of the season. Schwartz fought through a check along the boards and sent the puck towards Berglund. The goal featured an unselfish pass by Perron who stopped the puck in the crease so Berglund could register the hat trick.
Berglund became the first player in Blues history to record a hat trick at Bell Center and the first to do so against Montreal overall since Brett Hull on Jan. 16, 1992.
Of Note: Paul Stastny missed Saturday’s game with the lower-body injury sustained on Thursday night in Toronto. Stastny is questionable to return on Wednesday night… Berglund (3 goals), Perron (1 goal, 1 assists), Schwartz (2 assists), Pietrangelo (2 assists) had multi-point games for St. Louis… After scoring just one goal in his first 30 games this season, Berglund has now scored 16 goals in his last 26 games. The hat trick came in his 611th career game. … In the six games under Yeo, the Blues have outscored their opponents 20-8. … The Blues only won 30 percent of the faceoffs on Saturday night with the absence of their number one center… Carl Gunnarsson and Nail Yakupov were healthy scratches for the Blues.
Looking Ahead: The Blues finish their five-game road trip Wednesday night in Detroit against the Red Wings. It will be the last Blues-Red Wings regular-season game at Joe Louis Arena.