Game Report: Blues 5, Blackhawks 2

By Nicholas Hand

The Blues scored three power-play goals Wednesday night en route to winning their season-opener over the Blackhawks in Chicago.

Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice and added an assist and Jake Allen made 10 third-period saves to lead the Blues, who also got three-point nights from Kevin Shattenkirk and Paul Stastny.

The Blackhawks struck first on a power play goal by Richard Panik at 4:38 of the first period. Panik tapped in a rebound on an open net that resulted from a Jonathan Toews shot set up by Marian Hossa.

The Blues had quality chances in the first period, including a Tarasenko misfire on a rush with Jori Lehtera, and a strong shift by the fourth line late in the period that featured two chances for Ryan Reaves.

Panik nearly had a costly turnover to start the second period when his pass up the middle hit Blues forward David Perron, who streaked in on the Blackhawks net. Chicago goalie Corey Crawford made the save on Perron to preserve the Blackhawks lead.

After Trevor van Riemsdyk was whistled for hooking at 3:01 of the second period, the Blues evened the score with a power play goal of their own by Shattenkirk at 4:52.

Solid puck movement in the power play formation allowed Alex Pietrangelo to feed a puck in Shattenkirk’s wheelhouse for a blistering one-timer over Crawford’s shoulder. Alexander Steen also assisted on the goal.

A period in which the Blues carried the play by a wide margin, including a 15-3 shot on goal advantage, nevertheless saw St. Louis fall behind 2-1 at 13:57 when Ryan Hartman scored his first NHL goal for Chicago.

Robert Bortuzzo had a glaring, unforced turnover on a clearing attempt that was exacerbated by poor defensive coverage by Bortuzzo and Shattenkirk, allowing Hartman to bury a point blank chance through Allen’s five hole.

The Blues relentless pressure in the middle period forced the Blackhawks into a string of minor penalties that started with a slash by Toews slash on Colton Parayko in the Blues defensive zone with 2:06 remaining.

Less than a minute later, Artem Anisimov hooked Pietrangelo setting up a five-on-three man advantage.

Tarasenko buried a wrist shot past Crawford with 32 seconds remaining in the period on a feed from Stastny on the two-man advantage to even the score at 2-2. Right before Tarasenko’s goal, Duncan Keith high-sticked Pietrangelo extended the two-man advantage into the third period.

The Blues gained their first lead of the night on the power play carryover in the third period as Stastny buried a Tarasenko rebound 55 seconds into the third period. Shattenkirk also assisted on the goal.

Solid goaltending by Allen helped St. Louis kill off two minor penalties in the third period as time wound down.

Tarasenko put the game out of reach with an empty net goal on a rebound after Stastny hit the post on the initial shot with 1:06 remaining.

Scottie Upshall was awarded an empty net goal for the final Blues goal when the Blackhawks’ Brent Seabrook accidently sent the puck into his own empty net with 19 seconds remaining.

Between the Pipes: Allen only faced nine shots in the first 40 minutes before being called upon to make 10 third-period saves. Crawford made 29 saves on 32 shots for the Blackhawks.

Of Note:
The Blues three power play goals came on only five opportunities… The Blues outshot the Blackhawks 34-19 in the contest and also carried the faceoff circle winning 60 percent of the draws…Tarasenko (2g,1a), Stastny (1g,2a), and Shattenkirk (1g,2a) all had three point games… Stastny led all Blues forwards with 20:07 of ice time.

Looking Ahead: The Blues host the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night in the home opener at 7 p.m. at Scottrade Center.