Robert Thomas St. Louis Blues slip past New Jersey Devils
NEWARK, NJ (AP) — With Vladimir Tarasenko, Ryan O’Reilly and Torey Krug all out injured, St. Louis Blues coach Craig Berube told his teammates they needed to step up. They have.
Ivan Barbashev equalized late in the second period and set up Brandon Saad’s opener early in the third to lead the Blues to a 5-3 win over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.
“We talked about it, next man up mentality and I think it’s just the right way to play,” said Saad, who has scored three goals in his last two games. “I think if you have injuries you can tighten it up somehow. We check a little better and when we get chances and opportunities, we take them.”
Robert Thomas scored twice, Jordan Kyrou once and Jordan Binnington made 36 saves as the Blues improved to 7-2-3 in their last 12 games. St. Louis only managed 19 shots.
“We’ve got tons of depth,” said Thomas, who finished the game with a goalless goal with 43 seconds left. “That was our key last year, that’s what made us so successful. And you know, we pretty much got the same squad back. So there’s no excuse not to perform when guys are down and injured.”
Tarasenko, O’Reilly and Krug are all expected to be sidelined every four to six weeks, so the Blues need to keep climbing, especially after an early 2-7-1 in November and early December that put them on their heels
Jack Hughes, who scored six goals in his last four games, scored twice for New Jersey, and Nico Hishier, with a two-man lead, scored with 7:51 left to set the ending in suspense.
Akira Schmid, recalled from Utica earlier in the day because of a hand injury suffered by Mackenzie Blackwood, made 14 saves at the start. Vitek Vanecek had played in Detroit the night before.
The loss dropped New Jersey to 10-10-2 at the Prudential Center. They’re going 14-2-1.
“We just want to continue to be successful away from home and have to do better at home,” said Devils defender Damon Severson. “As simple as that.”
Saad broke a 2-all tie 2:27 in the third period with a close shot, his third goal in the last two games and 11th of the season. The goal came after Dawson Mercer failed to score in an attempted escape while outnumbered.
Thomas extended the lead to 4:2 at half-time with a powerplay goal from a difficult corner.
The Blues gave New Jersey a chance to get back in the game when Tyler Pitlick and Justin Faulk took penalties 15 seconds apart. Hischier extended his scoring streak to a career-high five games with a deflection of a shot from Dougie Hamilton, but New Jersey couldn’t equalize despite some good chances.
The teams were tied after two periods, with Hughes scoring twice in the second period and the Blues scoring first stanza goals from Kyrou and Barbashev late in the middle stanza.
Ondrej Palat returned to the Devils lineup for the first time since his October 24 game against Washington. He had groin surgery on November 1st. He played 18 shifts and 14:24.
Palat was signed from New Jersey this summer to a five-year, $30 million deal. He was drafted by Tampa Bay in 2011 and joined the league in 2014. In 2020 and 2021 he won the Stanley Cup with Lightning.
Blues: In Montreal, in the third contest of a four-game trip.
Devils: Play host to Rangers on Saturday.
AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports