ST. LOUIS — Thanks to the Blues’ comeback win on Saturday night against Florida, they came into their game Monday with a one-game winning streak instead of a three-game losing streak.
The Blues couldn’t follow up Saturday’s miracle third-period comeback with any level of effectiveness, serving up a disjointed effort against Central Division-leading Dallas that ended with a 4-1 loss to the Stars at Enterprise Center.
The Blues pulled within a goal in the third period and were threatening to make another comeback but a shot by Niko Mikkola was blocked, springing Dallas’ Jason Robertson on a breakaway for a shot that got past goalie Jordan Binnington. The Blues then pulled Binnington for a sixth attacker, and not long after Binnington got to the bench a shot by Dallas’ Miro Heiskanen from his own end rattled into the empty net.
The Blues have two days off before facing another top team, Carolina, on Thursday night at Enterprise.
All things must pass
Dallas had a three-on-two break midway through the third period and the three Stars — Ty Dellandrea, Jamie Benn and Wyatt Johnston — weaved and passed the puck beautifully on their way to scoring the goal that put the team up 2-0 with 12:03 to go.
Dellandrea started with the puck, gave it to Benn, who gave it to Johnston, who gave it back to Dellandrea, who finished it off.
That goal turned out to be big when Josh Leivo snagged a clearance attempt along the boards and put a shot on net that was tipped in by Brandon Saad. It was sixth assist of the season for Leivo, all primary ones, though he has yet to score a goal.
Stars break through
The Blues had two decent scoring chances early in the second period but couldn’t convert either and, as so often happens in hockey, that led immediately to a goal at the other end.
First there was a wraparound try by Jordan Kyrou that was stopped at the post by forward Joel Kiviranta. About 15 seconds later, Brayden Schenn had a shot attempt in good position that went high. And just like that, Dallas went the other way, with forward Wyatt Johnston shooting from the right circle past a possibly screened Binnington that got between him and the post to make it 1-0 with 16:09 to go in the period.
The Blues had a bunch of chances in the second, but couldn’t finish them. Midway through the period, Vladimir Tarasenko passed to Pavel Buchnevich, who skated into the slot and took a shot that went off the bar and led to Buchnevich slamming his stick on the ice after the whistle.
On that one, at least, the Blues got a shot off. About three minutes before that, the Blues had a two-on-one break with Ivan Barbashev having the puck on the left but his cross-ice pass was intercepted.
Mixing it up
Nathan Walker became the third Blue in as many games to get in a fight, dropping the gloves with Joel Hanley with 13:30 to go in the second period. They went at it for a while, with Hanley taking the early lead before Walker coming on as the two ran out of steam.
Barbashev fought at Tampa Bay and Torey Krug duked it out in Florida. The Blues have had seven fights this season, by seven different players: Walker, Barbashev, Krug, Niko Mikkola, Brayden Schenn, Robert Bortuzzo and Tyler Tucker.
The Blues were expecting to face Dallas starting goalie Jake Oettinger, but he came down sick between the morning skate and game time, so backup Scott Wedgewood got the nod. Oettinger still served as the backup, though he didn’t come out for warmups and didn’t sit on the bench during the game.
Wedgewood had the save of the first period, with 6:21 to go, when he reached out with his left hand to glove a shot by Buchnevich that seemed headed for the net. Wedgewood, who ended up stopping 23 of the 24 shots he faced, had 11 saves in the period. Most of them came in the final five minutes after the Blues got off to their slow start. Wedgewood again made a nice save on a shot by Brandon Saad who was alone in the slot with 2:30 to go.
Before that, however, it was mostly Stars as the Blues failed again and again and again to get the puck out of their own end, string together successful passes or establish any kind of presence in the Dallas zone. That the Stars didn’t score was only because of some effective last-ditch defense and because on one of Dallas’ best chances, Joe Pavelski put an open-net backhander off a rebound off the post.
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