Blues rally past Coyotes 4-2 in Miller’s debut
Sunday, March 2, 2014
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Patrik Berglund scored twice during St. Louis’ four-goal, third-period rally and the Blues beat the Phoenix Coyotes 4-2 on Sunday in goaltender Ryan Miller’s debut.
Miller made 23 saves in his first game since being acquired by St. Louis in a five-player deal with Buffalo on Friday. In addition to posting a 284-186-57 record in 10-plus seasons, all with the Sabres, Miller entered the game 6-0-0 with a shutout and a 1.15 goals-against average in his career against Phoenix.
Kevin Shattenkirk and Magnus Paajarvi added goals for the Blues, who had been scoreless for a franchise record 187:44 before scoring three in a nine-plus minute span.
Jeff Halpern scored his 150th career goal and Paul Bissonnette added his first goal since Dec. 14 for the Coyotes, who have lost four straight and five of six.
Miller’s St. Louis debut got off to a rocky start courtesy of an unlucky bounce less than three minutes into the game.
With a teammate skating down the slot, Bissonnette wristed a soft shot toward the net. St. Louis defenseman Barret Jackman, seemingly anticipating a harder attempt, dropped to the ice for the block. But the puck ticked off the prone Jackman’s left skate and bounced off Miller’s right shoulder and into the net for the goal and a 1-0 Phoenix lead at 2:56 of the first.
Halpern made it 2-0 at 7:09 of the second, slipping behind Shattenkirk after the Blues defenseman cleared Bissonnette from the front of the crease and scoring off Yandle’s pass from the left boards.
But momentum turned quickly in the third.
Berglund took a backhand pass from Jaden Schwartz and beat Mike Smith from the left of the net to pull St. Louis within 2-1 at 3:18 of the third, his first goal in 17 games.
Just more than four minutes later, Paajarvi rifled a shot past Smith from the middle of the faceoff circle to tie the game with 12:26 to go.
Shattenkirk gave the Blues their first lead of the game with 7:14 left when he took a pass at the point, skated into the left faceoff circle and took advantage of a screen from T.J. Oshie to score his first goal since Jan. 21.
Berglund capped the scoring with an unassisted goal with 1:39 left, jumping on a loose puck after Yandle was apparently tripped between the circles in the St. Louis zone and skating the length of the ice before scoring on a sharp wrist shot.
Smith made 26 saves for the Coyotes.
Notes: The Blues have won four straight in Phoenix. ... Steve Ott, who had been the Sabres’ captain before the trade, also was making his St. Louis debut. ... St. Louis’ power-play goal was its first in its past 28 chances.
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