ST. LOUIS -- Chris Stewart isn't getting caught up in his own point totals. All the St. Louis Blues power forward cares about is wins.
The Blues are starting to get them -- even with a depleted lineup, they are beginning to catch the fire that led to a 109-point season a year ago.
Stewart continued his torrid pace by scoring two more goals -- he has four in two games -- and adding an assist; Alex Steen scored and added a pair of assists in his return to the lineup; and midseason call-up Jake Allen earned his first NHL shutout when the Blues downed the Coyotes 3-0 at Scottrade Center on Thursday night.
The Coyotes, who had a two-game winning streak stopped, got 27 saves from goalie Mike Smith.
“We came out and took penalty after penalty in the first period,” Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. “You give a home team like that momentum and give them the lead, they’re going to take it and run with it and that’s exactly what they did.”
Smith said, “In reality, we didn’t play well enough to win. We didn’t play well enough to get those bounces going our way. We weren’t ready to play from the drop of the puck.
He added, “We had a better second (period) and we obviously were trying to press at the end of the game to get back into it. ... We had a couple of opportunities. As the game wore on, we couldn’t find anything around their net. They got a lead and they held the lead well.”
Stewart has 12 points (six goals, six assists) in the past six games and 22 points (nine goals, 13 assists) in 17 games. He's supplied more than sufficient offense in the absence of Andy McDonald, T.J. Oshie and Vladimir Tarasenko, all out with injuries for a Blues team that did get
Steen back after missing eight games with an upper-body injury.
“I'm not necessarily worried about the points, but I feel like I’m generating a lot of offense,” Stewart said. “I'm getting a lot of opportunities on the rush.”
Allen is 7-1-0 after he stopped 28 shots. He was recalled from the American Hockey League's Peoria Rivermen and stabilized a Blues goaltending situation that looked bleak with a groin injury to Jaroslav Halak and the struggles of Brian Elliott.
“It's something I've dreamed of, especially as a kid getting a shutout in the NHL,” said Allen, a second-round pick in the 2008 NHL Draft. “I never would have realized it would have been this quick, but I definitely appreciate all the work the guys did. It's something I won't forget.”
St. Louis outshot the Coyotes 16-8 in the first 20 minutes, helped by three power plays, but Smith and Allen were each up to the task.
The Blues' best scoring chances came when fourth-liner Ryan Reaves powered his way to the net and had two point-blank chances thwarted by Smith.
Allen, who obviously didn't see as large a workload, denied Antoine Vermette, who found himself alone at the top of the crease but had a couple whacks at the puck while Allen kept the right pad down. The puck eventually found its way into the net but officials whistled the play dead, saying the puck was covered by Allen when the whistle blew.
Stewart broke the stalemate when a fortuitous bounce wound up on his stick from the other side of the net. David Backes' original shot from the left circle caromed off the skate of Phoenix defenseman Derek Morris and off the back boards around the right side of the goal. Stewart was driving the net and skated right onto the puck and slammed it home 5:54 into the second period for a 1-0 Blues lead.
Steen made it 2-0 4:05 into the third period when his initial shot was blocked, but the puck came right back into his wheelhouse in the high slot, and he whirled and fired it past Smith following an odd-man rush for the Blues.
Stewart snapped a shot from the left dot over Smith's glove with plenty of traffic in front with 5:29 remaining as the Blues made it four wins in their past five games.
FIVE FOR PHOENIX
1. Forward Lauri Korpikoski played 13:49 and led the team with four shots on goal and four hits.
2. Phoenix killed all four St. Louis power plays and is 8-for-8 in penalty killing vs. the Blues this season in two games.
3. Defenseman David Schlemko was activated from the injured reserve list and returned to the lineup after missing 16 games because of an upper-body injury. Schlemko played 15:57 but was called for three penalties.
4. Center Matthew Lombardi also was back in action after missing two games because of an upper-body injury. Lombardi played 14:42 and took three shots.
5. The Coyotes played minus defenseman Zbynek Michalek who missed his second consecutive game because of a lower-body injury.
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