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(Saturday, October 12th)
Final Score: St. Louis 5, NY Rangers 3
St. Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - David Backes potted a pair of goals and assisted on another, helping the St. Louis Blues achieve their first 4-0-0 start in franchise history with a 5-3 decision over the reeling New York Rangers from Scottrade Center.
Alex Steen had a goal for the fourth consecutive game and chipped in three assists for the surging Blues, who have outscored their foes by a 19-7 margin during their surge. Derek Roy added a goal and an assist and Vladimir Tarasenko also scored to support a 26-save effort from Jaroslav Halak.
"We're getting bounces right now," Steen said. "We've been working hard trying to do simple things, read off each other and right now, it's been a lot of inspiration."
New York entered the matchup off lopsided losses in San Jose and Anaheim by a combined 15-2 score, and the team's defensive woes continued in this one. Martin Biron stopped only 13-of-17 shots before being removed in favor of Henrik Lundqvist to begin the third period.
The Rangers did receive a pair of power-play tallies from Ryan Callahan in defeat, which dropped New York to 1-4-0 on its season-opening road trip under new head coach Alain Vigneault. Brad Richards notched a goal and an assist.
"In the third, we just ran out of gas," Vigneault admitted. "Four games in six nights. You could tell the effort was there, the willingness was there, but the legs were having a tough time."
The teams were deadlocked at 1-1 at the conclusion of an evenly played opening period, but the Blues scored three times on only five shots in the second to open up a two-goal lead.
Backes' first tally of the night, a wrister that went right between Biron's pads and was set up by a cross-ice feed from Steen, broke the stalemate 5:11 into the middle session.
St. Louis later cashed in on a Rangers' penalty to further the margin. Roy eluded a defender and skated into the New York zone before ripping a shot that beat Biron to the stick side 7:16 prior to the second intermission.
Richards pulled the Rangers back within one by skating in from the left wing and knocking home a rebound of teammate Derick Brassard's initial attempt with 3:04 to go in the period. The Blues quickly answered, however, as Backes crashed the net to re-direct T.J. Oshie's shot from the left circle to send St. Louis into the break owning a 4-2 advantage.
The Rangers again cut into the deficit while on a power play early in the final stanza. Richards' one-timer deflected off Blues defenseman Roman Polak to an awaiting Callahan, whose close-range try was blocked by Halak but bounced into the air and over the goal line with 2:54 elapsed in the period.
A high-sticking call on Derek Dorsett midway through the third ultimately sealed New York's fate, however. Just six seconds into the resulting power play, Tarasenko blasted a wicked wrister with Chris Stewart setting a screen in front of Lundqvist that lengthened the lead to 5-3 with 9:18 to go.
Steen worked a give-and-go with Oshie that resulted in the former scoring on a rebound to stake the Blues to an early 1-0 edge. The score remained that way until the closing seconds of the first period, when the Rangers capitalized on a charging penalty to St. Louis defenseman Barret Jackman.
Derek Stepan centered the puck into the crease in the vicinity of Callahan, who backhanded the loose disc by Halak with only 5.8 seconds showing on the game clock.
Lundqvist saved 16-of-17 shots in the third period ... The Blues have now won 10 consecutive regular-season games at home dating back to last season ... Richards' goal was the first allowed by Halak at even strength since the second period of St. Louis' opener against Nashville ... Tarasenko now has a goal in three straight games ... Oshie and Kevin Shattenkirk each recorded two assists for the Blues, who went 2-for-6 on the power play ... New York, which finished 2-for-5 with the man advantage, got two helpers each from Brassard and Stepan.
10/13 02:09:51 ET