Steen helps Blues snap losing streak at 5
Monday, December 6, 2010
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — The St. Louis Blues have lost a lot of games and players of late, so it was nice to finally turn a loss into a positive.
Alexander Steen scored his second goal 6:11 into the third period after the Blues lost a faceoff in the Vancouver end, and St. Louis snapped a five-game skid with a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday night.
Steen, who also assisted on Matt D’Agostini’s goal, beat two defenders to a loose puck after the lost faceoff, fought off a stick check in the slot, and lifted a backhander past Roberto Luongo for the winning goal.
“We did notice we scored a goal off one that we actually lost,” Blues coach Davis Payne said. “Good play by Steener to recognize possession was going that way, jumped to it and took advantage of an opportunity to get to the net.”
Steen, who opened the scoring early in the first period, was quick to pass the credit around after the Blues lost top center Andy McDonald to an upper body injury late in Saturday night’s 2-1 overtime loss in Edmonton.
“It’s nice to bury the pucks but I thought it was a complete effort and I was just the last one that touched the two pucks,” Steen said. “It was a gritty team effort, from our goalie to our back end to our forwards.”
Jaroslav Halak had 21 saves after playing the night before, but got help from a Blues team that tightened up while missing three of its top forwards to injury — T.J. Oshie and David Perron also are out. St. Louis limited the Canucks, who scored 20 goals during a four-game winning streak, to two shots the first 16 minutes of the third period before adding five in a late flurry.
“It’s tough when you lose three guys like Perron, Oshie and then Mac last night but we really came together,” Steen said. “We just played hard and played fast and it was a solid road game, the game we described before we started.”
Jannik Hansen and Kevin Bieksa scored, and Luongo finished with 25 saves for the Canucks, who allowed five goals during their winning streak.
“They weren’t giving us much room out there,” Luongo said. “In those cases we’ve got to get ugly goals, like they did.”
Steen made it 1-0 just 4:13 into the game, firing a rebound off Luongo’s shoulder and in after the goalie made a good blocker save on D’Agostini and scrambled across.
Hansen, moved up to the second line after Mason Raymond came down with the flu, tied it midway through the period. But D’Agostini gave the Blues a 2-1 edge 1:55 into the second by deflecting Eric Brewer’s point shot into the net after it changed directions off a Vancouver stick.
“We’ve been kind of snake bit lately, had a ton of shots and chances but just couldn’t find it,” D’Agostini said. “That (five-game skid) was weighing on us so it’s big one, especially against Vancouver, a good team at home.”
Bieksa tied it again, shortly after the Blues missed on a great short-handed chance five minutes later, when his shot from the top of the circle went between the legs of teammate Ryan Kesler and Halak.
“Maybe I should have stopped that one but guys are there for me, they score the third one and it was a huge two points for us,” Halak said.
That goal came just after the power play expired, but the Blues killed all five Vancouver chances, and were helped when Alex Edler’s shot hit the post in the final minute of the second period. It made it easier to accept their own 0-for-5 performance from a power play that hasn’t scored in seven games now.
“Our guys did a hell of a job tonight especially on their power play,” Halak said. “They got the best power play in the league so we need to be aware of that and we killed them all so I got to give it to our guys.”
NOTES: McDonald is day to day after being hit in the head by the knee of Edmonton forward Shawn Horcoff on Saturday. Cam Janssen replaced him in the lineup. ... Canucks D Andrew Alberts also sat out because of the flu. C Alex Bolduc was recalled from the AHL to fill in up front for Raymond. Aaron Rome filled in for Alberts.
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