Jaskin, Allen help Blues beat Coyotes

ST. LOUIS — The Blues got a big boost from a pair of rookies on Tuesday night to snap their two-game losing skid.

Goalie Jake Allen made 25 saves and Dmitrij Jaskin scored the game-winning goal in the second period as the Blues defeated the visiting Arizona Coyotes 2-1 at Scottrade Center.

“We had a lot of guys play really well tonight and we needed a lot of guys to play well,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “A lot of guys played hard and played the right way. It’s nice to see us work at that level.”

The Blues (35-15-4, 74 points) had their seven-game win streak snapped by losing back-to-back games, a 7-1 loss in Columbus on Friday and then the 4-2 loss to the visiting Blackhawks on Sunday.

The Blues’ rookies came through with clutch performances on Tuesday to make sure St. Louis didn’t suffer a third straight defeat.

Jaskin’s goal, with 8:52 left in the second period, came on a backhanded shot that trickled past Arizona goalie Mike Smith.

“I didn’t see it until I went behind the net,” the Russian said. “It was a good surprise for me.”

It was the rookie winger’s seventh goal of the season and his fourth game-winning goal, which tied Paul Stastny and Jaden Schwartz and is one behind Vladimir Tarasenko for the team lead.

Allen improved to 16-5-2 on the season with his fifth consecutive victory. After needing to make just four stops in the second period, he made 13 saves in the third to preserve the lead.

“Jake was great tonight,” Jaskin said.

The goaltender is now 5-0 so far in 2015 with a 1.64 goals-against average and .931 save percentage.

The Coyotes (20-28-7, 47 points) got 34 saves from Smith.

The visitors got off to a good start early Tuesday after Sam Gagner beat Allen with a shot over the goalie’s left shoulder on a two-on-one rush, just 4:42 into the first period, for his 10th of the season.

The Blues answered with 4:50 left in the first when Alexander Steen scored on a rebound of a shot from T.J. Oshie after a nice pass from David Backes.

The goal was Steen’s 18th of the season and his 10th in 17 games since the start of the new calendar year. With three more points the Steen-Oshie-Backes line now has 62 over the last 17 games.

Jaskin put the Blues ahead 2-1 with 8:52 remaining in the second period when he was able to trickle a backhand shot past Smith.

“The guy was coming behind me, so I was just trying to protect the puck,” Jaskin said. “I didn’t have a chance to put it on the forehand so I was trying to put it on the net or maybe make some rebound for Bergie (Patrik Berglund) and it went through.”

Jaskin’s goal was assisted by Carl Gunnarsson.

The Blues had opportunities to add to their advantage, but were unable to score another goal to get some breathing room.

Instead, St. Louis had to buckle down late in the third period when Arizona made another push, including when Jay Bouwmeester went to the penalty box for holding.

The Blues killed that penalty as Allen made every save he needed to as the defense tightened up in front of the youngster.

You can follow Nate Latsch on Twitter at @NateLatsch or email him at natelatsch@gmail.com


Blues Illustrated Top Stories