Perron leads Blues over Dallas Stars 4-3
DALLAS, Jan 27, 2013 (Menafn - St. Louis Post-Dispatch - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --The stars at night are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas -- normally. Not so much on Saturday night at American Airlines Center.
From a hockey standpoint, the visiting Blues were catching the Stars at an opportune time. And after an uneven start, the Blues took advantage, beating the Dallas Stars 4-3 behind a two-goal performance by David Perron.
The Stars were not so bright without 41-year old Jaromir Jagr, who missed the evening with a sore back. Other Dallas standouts, Jamie Benn (63 points last season) and Derek Roy also were out of the lineup. That said, the Blues had their hands full at times with the slightly-diminished Stars.
"We had three different periods," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "The first period, we threw our sticks on the ice. We looked at who was injured and thought, 'Oh, this will be an easy night.'
"We found that it wasn't. We dug in big time in the second, then we couldn't extend the lead in third and they came back. It was like three different games."
The game started promising enough for the visitors. Less than six minutes into the night, Wade Redden one-timed a pass from Alex Pietrangelo, and the shot sizzled through traffic to beat goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp. The goal was the 107th of Redden's NHL career, the first for the 35-year old defenseman since he scored against the Blues on March 18, 2010.
"It felt good," Redden said. "Actually, I wasn't sure it didn't hit (Ryan) Reaves on the way through. I'm still not sure."
But the Blues got lax in their end 26 seconds later, and Tomas Vincour sneaked away from Alex Steen to score, banging home his own rebound.
The Stars went on a power-play with 8:30 to go in the period, after Vladimir Tarasenko chopped Ray Whitney. Fifty seconds into the penalty kill, the Blues missed several opportunities to clear before a rebound wound up on Michael Ryder's stick. Ryder's backhand gave Dallas a 2-1 lead with 7:20 remaining in the period.
Less than seven minutes into the second period, the David Backes line applied pressure and Perron drew a penalty, nearly scoring in the process. The Blues' power play couldn't convert again, despite spending ample time in the Stars' end.
Moments later, however, Perron scored in highlight-reel fashion. He gathered the puck on the left board, stick-handled behind the Stars' net, stick-handled out, stick-handled into the slot. And, having stick-handled everyone dizzy, Perron whipped a shot past Nilstorp. The goal was Perron's first of the season and made it 2-2 with 9:08 to play.
"That was phenomenal," said Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. "He practices every day and he has hands that no one else has on this team. It's pretty special to see."
Hitchcock had a feeling the line of Backes, Perron and-T. J. Oshie was ready to bust out.
"I thought Perron was head and shoulders the best player on the ice tonight," he said. "He was very, very good. His tenacity on the puck, with the puck, for the puck was a major factor."
As the Blues increasingly took over, Patrik Berglund's terrific play gave them back the lead. The big Swede out-wrestled Dallas' Trevor Daley along the board and moved in on Nilstorp, then slid a parallel pass to an on-rushing Chris Stewart, who converted his third goal. The Blues led 3-2 with 3:28 to play.
Perron appeared to put the nail in the coffin by scoring with 16 seconds remaining in the second period. Vladimir Tarasenko got the puck to Perron, who again moved into the slot and scored his second goal, making it 4-2.
"I like to handle the puck a lot," Perron said. "And when I do that early in the game, everything seems to start rolling for me. I'm looking for passing lanes to open up, but when they don't, I'm going to keep going, I guess."
Dallas put drama back in the proceedings by scoring less then three minutes into the third period. Again, the Blues missed a chance to clear and Brenden Morrow fed Ryan Garbutt for a goal that made it 4-3.
The Blues then limited Dallas' chances until the final minute. The Stars nearly tied it with a closing swarm, during which Whitney hit a post behind Jaroslav Halak.
But the Blues survived with their comeback win of the season and improved their road record to 2-1. The team returned home after the game to host Minnesota at Scottrade Center tonight.
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