ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues worked their shootout magic again to collect two crucial points on Thursday night.
Andy McDonald scored the lone shootout goal, and Brian Elliott snagged Oliver Ekman-Larsson's final attempt as the Blues edged the Phoenix Coyotes 2-1 at Scottrade Center.
The Blues, who also won 2-1 in a shootout Tuesday night, improved to 5-1 in tiebreakers this season.
"It was a gritty performance by our group," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "We were desperate for points and at times we were really strong in the game. The second period we probably deserved a much better outcome than we got, but we hung in there we got a big goal at the end. It's unfortunate we couldn't get an extra one in the shootout."
Andy McDonald was the Blues' first shooter in the shootout and he beat Johnson with a high wrist shot.
David Perron netted a first-period goal for the Blues and Elliott stopped 33 shots through 65 minutes. He also stopped Vrbata and Oliver Ekman-Larsson in shootout attempts. Antoine Vermette fired wide on Phoenix's first attempt.
The Blues jumped in front when Perron scored his 10th of the season and first in 17 games. He redirected David Backes' right point wrister past Johnson 9:58 into the opening period. Perron's last goal came in a 4-2 win March 12 against the San Jose Sharks to get the monkey off his back.
"It's good to get one for sure," Perron said. "I didn't really see the puck come off David's stick. The (defenseman) was in front of me and I was able to get my stick on it."
The Coyotes had a bigger push in the middle period, but Elliott was up to the task by making 10 stops. He also got some help from his posts -- Rob Klinkhammer drew iron on a break-in with the backhand early in the period, and Zbynek Michalek's right-point shot hit the near post late in the period.
"He was excellent," Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said of Elliott. "I thought our whole group of defensemen did a heck of a job because we put them under siege with turnovers in the neutral zone for the whole second period. I thought our (defensemen) did a great job bailing us out of trouble, helping us. We competed harder on pucks in the third period, but we did not compete near hard enough on pucks in the first two periods. Up front, we (had) too many turnovers, too many pucks came back on us, they stuck us on the three-quarter ice game. You're not going to win like that. The goalie saved us today."
Phoenix got the late power play when Backes was called for boarding Ekman-Larsson in the offensive zone. When the Coyotes scored, they felt like they had the momentum.
"There was a big scrum in the corner and the puck came out and I was just by myself and they saw me," Vrbata said. "I was able to put it in... We were still playing there and now will have to go to Chicago and get some points there."
Johnson kept the Blues from winning in overtime when he made a stop on Chris Stewart's breakaway attempt with 1:54 left in overtime.
"Just very solid," Tippett said of his goalie. "Very solid. All you can ask from your goaltender is give yourself a chance to win. Just stop the ones you're supposed to stop and the one that got by him was a high deflection and that's just the way the game goes sometimes. He made some great stops for us and kept us in the game, gave us a chance to get a point."
FIVE FOR PHOENIX
1. Goalie Chad Johnson is 2-0-2 in four starts with the Coyotes this season. He has stopped 103 of 108 shots (.954) in those games.
2. Forward Radim Vrbata scored his eighth goal of the season. He has scored all but one on the road.
3. Captain Shane Doan left the game with six minutes left in the second period but returned in the third period. He played only six shifts in the third period and none in the overtime period.
4. Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson played a game-high 29:00 and took four shots on goal.
5. The Coyotes dropped to 3-5 in shootouts this season.
|Back to top ↑|