Game Report: Blues 3, Coyotes 0
By Nicholas Hand
The Blues improved to 3-1 to start their five-game road trip with a shutout of the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night in Glendale.
Jake Allen had a stellar performance with 31 saves for his fourth shutout of the season and the 15th of his NHL career. Allen now has a 5-1-0 record in the month of March with a .962 save percentage.
Alex Pietrangelo, Scottie Upshall and David Perron scored for the Blues in a win that moved them into a tie with the Nashville Predators for the third seed in the Central Division with 81 points.
The Blues hold the tiebreaker over Nashville with 37 regulation and overtime wins compared to the Predators’ 33. Both teams have 11 games remaining in the regular season. The Blues also put a six-point buffer on the Los Angeles Kings in the potential wild card race with the Kings having 12 games remaining.
The win was the seventh in the last eight games for the Blues.
The game started with early drama when Coyotes defenseman Anthony DeAngelo received a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for boarding Blues forward Zach Sanford 1:56 into the contest.
Sanford left the game for repairs but returned in the second period.
The Blues produced numerous chances on the power play and finally broke through with just three seconds remaining in the major penalty on Pietrangelo’s 10th of the season. Pietrangelo’s shot went through traffic and under the crossbar for a 1-0 Blues lead at 6:53. Paul Stastny and Jay Bouwmeester assisted on the goal.
The Blues controlled the first period of play but were unable to increase their lead in the opening 20 minutes despite holding a 16 to 3 shot advantage over Arizona.
St. Louis increased the lead to 2-0 on an unassisted goal by Upshall 2:52 into the second period.
Upshall stole the puck on the forecheck near the goal line and cut to the middle of the ice firing a turnaround wrist shot past Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith for his ninth of the season.
The Blues put the game away on a shorthanded empty-net goal by David Perron for the 3-0 final with 1:03 remaining in regulation.
Since the trade of Kevin Shattenkirk on Feb. 27, Pietrangelo has taken advantage of his increased offensive ice-time specifically on the Blues first-unit power play. In the ensuring 10 games, Pietrangelo has scored eight points (1 goal, 7 assists)… The Blues played a disciplined game on Saturday taking only two minor penalties in the game both occurring in the third period. The referees only called three penalties in the contest including DeAngelo’s major penalty…After having a sub-.900 save percentage for much of the season due to his struggles, Allen’s hot play in February and March has surged his save percentage up above the .910 mark.
The Blues finish their five-game road trip on Tuesday night in Colorado against the Avalanche.