However, when the Blues finally broke an eight-plus-period
scoring drought, they kept on scoring to make his debut a winning
St. Louis trailed 2-0 after two periods before rallying for a 4-2
win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Sunday.
Blues center Patrik Berglund scored twice, and left wing Magnus
Paajarvi and defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk also scored third-period
St. Louis (40-14-6) posted its first victory since the Olympic break
after losing twice.
Miller, who was acquired by the Blues along with forward Steve Ott
from the Buffalo Sabres on Friday in exchange for goalie Jaroslav
Halak, forward Chris Stewart, left wing prospect William Carrier and
first- and third-round draft picks, turned aside 23 shots.
"I was anxious and nervous all day. It's a new group of guys, and
you want to show them what you've got and have the chance to be
there for them," Miller said. "Impressive third period by those
guys. Not a lot of shots came my way after they got a little more
Phoenix (27-23-11) got production from unlikely sources to grab a
Enforcer Paul Bissonnette, a left winger, scored his second goal of
the season and just the seventh of his career to stake the Coyotes
to a 1-0 lead 2:56 into the game. Bissonnette took a feed from
defenseman Michael Stone and drove to the net off the left wing. His
shot caromed up off Blues defenseman Barret Jackman's skate and off
The Coyotes' fourth line widened the lead early in the second period
when defenseman Keith Yandle slipped a pass across the front of the
net to center Jeff Halpern, who redirected it into the open side for
a 2-0 lead. At that point, the Coyotes looked as if they were in
"That's the hardest someone has played us in the second period,"
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "They were all over us, and they won
every race to the puck."
However, St. Louis turned it up a notch in the third and cut the
lead to 2-1 about four minutes into the period when forward Jaden
Schwartz found Berglund on a backdoor feed. The goal was the first
for the Blues since they returned from the Olympic break.
[to top of second column]
After that, the floodgates opened. Paajarvi scored his fifth of the
season through a partial screen at 7:39. Shattenkirk scored on a
power play at 12:46 to put St. Louis on top, and Berglund added his
10th of the season at 18:21.
"Once we got the first goal, it was like the weight was lifted off
everyone's shoulders and we just took off," Hitchcock said. "We
played hard and we were back to our game again."
The Coyotes weren't happy with the officiating in the third period.
A hooking call on Halpern led to Shattenkirk's go-ahead goal. Then,
with the Coyotes pressuring for the tying goal late, Blues right
wing Vladimir Tarasenko tripped Yandle, but no call was made. The
Blues went the other way to add Berglund's insurance goal.
"It sucks when there are there factors involved besides the two
teams competing," Bissonnette said. "I won't go much more into that,
but it's upsetting and frustrating."
The Coyotes blew leads in five of their past 11 games, and they are
4-5-2 in that stretch.
"We played so well for 40 (minutes) ," Bissonnette said. "We were
dominant, doing all the right things. We just got away from it, and
it's kind of been the story for the last few months here. We just
had to keep making predictable plays and stay on the right side of
the puck. As boring as the game is when you play like that, it's
just the way it works for us."
The loss prevented Phoenix from jumping into the final playoff spot
in the Western Conference. St. Louis moved back into first place in
the Central Division.
NOTES: Blues G Ryan Miller entered Sunday's game with a 6-0-0 record
against Phoenix with a 1.15 goals against average and a .963 save
percentage. ... Three scouts from the Toronto Maple Leafs took in
Sunday's game. The Leafs are thought to be seeking veteran help for
their defensive corps. Coyotes D Derek Morris will be an
unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. ... Coyotes LW
Paul Bissonnette set a career high in points with his first-period
goal. He has seven points this season. ... Blues F David Backes, on
the locker-room trade speculation surrounding G Ryan Miller while
the two were Unites States Olympic teammates in Sochi, Russia:
"Everyone, I think, was trying to claim him while we were over
there." ... Blues F Vladimir Sobotka will meet with doctors on
Monday in St. Louis. If he is medically cleared to return from a
broken kneecap suffered on Jan. 31, he would be on the ice Monday
afternoon for the first time since the injury.
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