Rookie defenseman Colton Parayko scored his first two NHL goals as part of a three-goal second period that helped the visiting St. Louis Blues beat the Calgary Flames 4-3 on Tuesday night at Scotiabank Saddledome.
“Obviously it’s very exciting,” Parayko told reporters. “It’s something you dream about as a kid and doing that tonight is a pretty special moment. Obviously I have my family in town too — my mom, my dad, two sisters and my brother. It was cool for them to experience as well.”
Playing their second game of a season-long six-game road trip, the Blues (2-1-0, 4 points) trailed 2-1 after 20 minutes when goals from Mason Raymond and Jiri Hudler offset Scottie Upshall's first tally with his new team, which was assisted by Paul Stastny and Troy Brouwer.
St. Louis tied the score early in the second period when David Backes found Brouwer for a breakaway goal, his second of the season with his new team.
Parayko scored a power-play goal two minutes later, assisted by Jori Lehtera and Alex Pietrangelo and then scored again with 32 seconds remaining in the period. That goal, assisted by Alexander Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko, put the Blues ahead 4-2.
“The first one, I just got it at the point and saw a little bit of traffic,” Parayko said. “I ripped it top left. The second one, I was late on the rush and Steener gave me a backhand. I tried to pull it and had no shot lanes, so I moved to the forehand and wristed one through. I just try to shoot from wherever, almost. Wherever I get it, I just try to shoot and try to create anything.”
The 6-foot-5, 226-pound rookie was the talk of training camp and the preseason, when he had six assists, and has already made an impact in his first three NHL games. He’s impressed his teammates and coaches.
“For a guy that’s a first-year player in the league and only played in less than 20 games in the American Hockey League, he’s got great composure and he’s getting better every day,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock told reporters. “I thought as soon as (Kevin Shattenkirk) got hurt, both him and (Joel Edmundson) really stepped up and started to play really well. It bodes good for us.”
The Flames cut the deficit to 4-3 on a goal from David Jones just 1:42 into the third period, but the Blues were able to hang on for their second win.
Brian Elliott stopped 15 of 18 shots for his second victory in two starts as the Flames fell to 1-2-0.
“When we play our game, they struggle, and when we play their game, we really struggle,” Hitchcock said. “We got out of their game halfway through the first period and then really started to settle down. Most of the second and the last half of the first we really settled down and got into our game.”