By Nick Jacquin, Sports Writer
With the fall weather approaching, the St. Louis Blues took center stage around the area this past week. The team opened up their 2016-2017 campaign with a strong start. After opening up with a tough matchup on the road against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Blues returned home last Thursday for their home opener against Minnesota. St. Louis won both games and hosted the New York Rangers on Saturday night at the Scottrade Center.
Starting Blues goalie Jake Allen got the night off and St. Louis fans were able to see what their new backup goalie Carter Hutton had to offer. Hutton responded with an excellent effort stopping 33 of 35 shots on net, to help the Blues get off to a 3-0 start for just the fourth time in franchise history.
St. Louis was able to open the scoring early as the high scoring winger Vladimir Tarasenko fired a Colton Parayko pass past New York’s veteran goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, making it 1-0.
However, New York was able to even the score just four minutes later when Chris Kreider was able to corral a loose puck from outside the crease and putting it past Hutton, to tie the game at one. Blues center Paul Stastny responded with two and a half minutes remaining in the first period with a goal of his own on a rebound from Robby Fabbri. It was Stastny’s second goal on the young season as he has gotten off to a good start.
After St. Louis was able to head into the first intermission, the blue note continued right where they left off. A high-sticking call by New York’s J.T. Miller put St. Louis on the power play. That is when new Captain Alex Pietrangelo fired home a slap slot off a Stastny pass for his first goal of the season.
The Rangers were able to respond just 30 seconds later with a goal on a backhander by Mika Zibanejad to make it 3-2. Hutton failed to seal off the post and it was the only dark moment of his evening. The score would remain the same heading into the third period.
After a good effort from the Blues in the first two periods, the third was a struggle as the Blues were unable to put a shot on goal the whole twenty minutes. Fortunately, Hutton was up to the task and he was able to stop all of New York’s fifteen shots to secure the win. It was a defining moment for the goaltender and made a statement in front of his new fans.
St. Louis did suffer some injuries during the game as forwards Kyle Brodziak and Jori Lehtera left the game with upper body injuries. Defenseman Carl Gunnarsson also exited with an upper body injury. Head Coach Ken Hitchcock did not provide a further update on the extent of the injuries. The team will return home on October 22nd with a matchup with Calgary.