Red Wings-Blues Preview
Jake Allen has given St. Louis plenty of solid performances in net this season, but few have been as impressive as his last that helped the Blues snap out of their funk.
St. Louis now looks to take both games on its brief homestand when it hosts the Detroit Red Wings.
Allen has a 1.91 goals-against average and three shutouts in 13 starts and one relief appearance after making 32 saves in Thursday's 3-2 shootout win over Buffalo. After helping the Blues (13-6-1) snuff out a pair of 5-on-3 chances for the Sabres, he stopped all three attempts in the shootout.
"Your best penalty killer is your goalie and again he made some big saves," said Alexander Steen, who scored the only goal in the shootout.
St. Louis had dropped three of its previous four before getting power-play goals from Kevin Shattenkirk and Vladimir Tarasenko. It also has killed off all 13 penalties over its last three.
''It was special teams and goaltender that won the game for us,'' coach Ken Hitchcock said. ''Penalty killing was outstanding. Power play, we scored early in the 5-minute power play ... and then had a great power-play goal in the second period. The guys that killed penalties, especially those guys that were out there on the 5-on-3, did an outstanding job.''
The Blues improved to 6-2-1 at Scottrade Center and look to win a third straight there before heading on the road to face Buffalo and Pittsburgh.
This will be the only one on the road during a nine-game stretch for the Red Wings (10-8-2), who beat Los Angeles 3-2 on Friday.
Rookie Dylan Larkin scored for the third consecutive contest, but he briefly went to the locker room in the third period after his knee buckled during a non-contact play. He returned, much to the delight of coach Jeff Blashill.
Larkin has seven goals and seven assists, ranking second behind Henrik Zetterberg for the team lead in points.
''I didn't get a good look at what he did, but I know he had some kind of lower-body issue,'' Blashill said. ''I haven't talked to him, but he finished the game, so I don't expect it was anything serious.''
Mike Green and Tomas Tatar also scored, and Zetterberg added two assists. Detroit also had Brad Richards back in the lineup after he missed 13 games with a back injury, and defenseman Brendan Smith returned after sitting out five with an illness.
''We knew we needed to attack the net and create some chances,'' Tatar said. ''That's the only way we've been getting anything to go in.''
The Red Wings will use that same strategy as they try to win a fourth straight meeting with the Blues. Justin Abdelkader scored on Allen in overtime for a 2-1 victory in the last matchup March 22.
Steen scored the lone goal for St. Louis as Jimmy Howard made 23 saves to end a personal three-game losing streak to the Blues.
Howard will be in net for this meeting as well after Petr Mrazek made 35 saves against the Kings, though he has just a .905 save percentage in his last seven starts.
Zetterberg has just one assist in his last five against the Blues.