Blues 5, Stars 2
Tuesday, 06.19.2012 / 12:50 AMST. LOUIS -
This was not what the Dallas Stars needed.
Depleted by injuries and desperate for points, the Stars stumbled out of the gate and watched David Perron scored two goals and David Backes notch a goal and an assist as the St. Louis Blues drilled Dallas 5-2 Tuesday night at the ScottTrade Center.
The struggling Stars, who fell behind 3-0 before the game was 12 minutes old, are now 2-7-1 in their last 10 contests and have lost all three meetings with the Blues this season by a combined score of 14-4.
The defeat leaves them stuck at 70 points tied for ninth in the crowded Western Conference standings, one back of both Edmonton and Nashville. With the victory, St. Louis is now tied with Anaheim in 11th with 68 points.
, skating in his 500th career regular season game, and rookie James Neal
scored the Dallas goals.
Stars netminder Marty Turco lasted less than 12 minutes in the Stars’ crease, surrendering three goals on eight shots - including the first one before the game was even a minute old - before being pulled in favor of backup Tobias Stephan. Stephan made 17 saves in relief.
“You always expect your best but I didn’t play my best,” Turco admitted. “It wasn’t my night and for the most part, the guys battled hard to come back, but a couple of mistakes ended up in our net. It’s too bad because I felt like we were racing back but it was too far out of reach.”
The contest started off on the wrong foot almost immediately as the Blues jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead just 59 seconds in. Backes carried into the left face-off circle before launching a scorching wrist shot over Turco’s glove just under the crossbar for his 22nd goal of the season.
“That first one, just being off a little bit on a bad-angle shot, whether it was a good shot or not, you always like to have those ones and that kind of set the tone for the rest of the game,” Turco said.
Following an unproductive Stars power play, St. Louis struck again at 6:32 on an outstanding individual effort by Perron. Perron had the puck along the left sideboards and then bulled his way past Dallas defenseman Nicklas Grossman
into the slot, then fired a wrist shot past Turco just inside the far post.
To add injury to insult, just 27 seconds later, winger Mark Parrish was leveled at center ice after a crushing open ice check from Blues defender Jay McKee. Parrish, skating in his 700th career regular season contest after sitting out as a healthy scratch the previous two games, stayed down for awhile and did not return to the contest.
Meanwhile, Brian Sutherby
jumped in and started a fight with McKee, leading to Sutherby being assessed a two-minute instigator penalty along with a 10-minute misconduct to put the Blues on the power play.
St. Louis did not capitalize on the opportunity and in fact, the Stars had the best chance as Steve Begin sped in on a breakaway, but was tripped from behind by former Star Brad Winchester before he could get a shot off, resulting in a penalty.
The Blues then extended the lead to 3-0 with 8:04 left in the period while on another power play. Turco denied Brad Boyes’ shot from the top of the left face-off circle, and then made an even better stop on Winchester’s rebound attempt, but Winchester got another chance and on the backhand, swept it past Turco for his 11th of the year.
Immediately upon the ensuing face-off, Krys Barch squared off with St. Louis enforcer Cam Janssen in a long, drawn-out fight which ended with blood from Janssen’s hand on the side of Barch’s helmet.
Also at that whistle, Turco was lifted in place of Stephan.
“Things aren’t always going to go your way and when you’re not feeling your best, you just rely on your game and trust it,” Turco said. “You’re not always going to feel 100 percent with your movements, your reactions or your body, but you battle through it. We just did not get the result we wanted.”
Dallas almost got one back with 5:16 remaining in the period when Blues goaltender Chris Mason made an impressive glove snag on Mike Modano’s one-timer from in front.
Trailing 3-0 entering the second period, the Stars sliced the lead to two at 5:20 on Neal’s 22nd goal of the season. On the power play, Neal controlled the puck along the goal line off the right side of the crease, faked a pass in front pulling Mason off the near post, then fired a fierce wrist shot over Mason’s shoulder under the crossbar.
The Blues restored the three-goal lead at 9:59, though, when Perron netted his second of the night. T.J. Oshie set up the play, lugging the puck into the right circle before feeding a cross-ice pass to the charging Perron in the slot, who drilled a one-timer into an open net for his 11th of the season.
Ribeiro made it 4-2 just 1:38 later, collecting a loose puck at center ice, speeding into the right circle and cutting across the slot. Catching Mason going down early, Ribeiro held onto the puck and then slid a quick shot from the left side of the crease past the out-of-position Mason for his 18th goal of the season.
The Blues, however, went back up by three on another power play with 4:20 left on Keith Tkachuk’s 20th. Receiving a pretty no-look backhand pass from Boyes along the left sideboards, Tkachuk rifled a slap shot from the high slot that squeezed through Stephan’s arm and side.
Down 5-2 heading into the final period, the Stars got a big save from Stephan on Patrik Berglund’s shot from off the right side of the crease 1:10 in while on another power playh.
Less than four minutes into the period, Mason then denied Chris Conner’s point-blank one-timer from in front.
“(The playoff race is) amazingly tight, but for us, it is so much more disappointing when you lose because you know you are losing ground,” Turco said. “Unfortunately, it is probably easier to fall out of the pack than gain ground so we have to get back to getting points.”
Their next chance to do that comes up quick, as the Stars get right back on the plane and head home to the Metroplex for their sixth straight game in a different city, facing off against Carolina on Thursday (7:30 pm, my27). The Stars hope to end the franchise’s longest home losing streak since 1970 at six against the Hurricanes, yet another team in a life-and-death battle to make the playoffs. Carolina currently sits tied for seventh in the Eastern Conference, one point back of Pittsburgh in sixth and one ahead of the New York Rangers in ninth.
- Modano’s assist on Neal’s goal was the 782nd of his stellar career, moving him past Brian Leetch into sole possession of second place on the NHL’s all-time list among American-born players. Now he just trails Phil Housley, who amassed 894.
- With his goal, Ribeiro extended his current point streak to five games and has 11 points (five goals, six assists) in his last eight outings. He led the Stars with four shots on goal.
- Neal now has four goals in his last five games.
- Trevor Daley
’s assist on Neal’s goal snapped an eight-game point drought, which followed a four-game assist streak.
- Loui Eriksson
was held off the scoresheet, ending a five-game point streak for him. He had collected seven points (five goals, two assists) over that span.
- Parrish, who skated just three shifts for 1:46 of ice time, is listed as day-to-day with an upper body injury.
- Rookie winger Fabian Brunnstrom
sat out with an upper body injury, as did winger Jere Lehtinen, who missed his fourth straight contest. Both are listed as day-to-day as well.
- The Dallas power play unit was 1-for-6 on the night, collecting a goal for the sixth time in the last seven games, but it is still just 6-for-45 over that span.
- The Blues’ extra-man unit, which entered the day tied for third in the entire NHL at home, was 2-for-6.