Blues score 4 in first period, beat Coyotes 6-4
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) The St. Louis Blues are finding different ways to keep up with the Western Conference leaders.
This time, the offense came through early, with the Blues using a four-goal first period to beat the Arizona Coyotes 6-4 on Saturday night for their fifth straight win.
Vladimir Tarasenko, David Backes and Alexander Steen each had a goal and an assist in the game.
''You kept shaking your head and wondering if it was real,'' Backes said of the four-goal early explosion. ''Another way to find two points. It's a good feeling in here with different guys stepping up all the time.''
Jaden Schwartz, Carl Gunnarsson and Patrik Berglund also scored, and Colton Parayko added two assists for St. Louis. The Blues are third in the Western Conference with 79 points and just two points behind the Chicago Blackhawks for the conference lead.
Arizona has lost seven of 10 and is about to start a five-game trip that could determine whether it remains a playoff contender. Max Domi scored twice, Kevin Connauton had a goal and two assists and Shane Doan also scored. Louis Domingue stopped 30 of 35 shots and was pulled for the second half of the first period before returning.
The Blues led 4-1 after 11 minutes behind Tarasenko's power-play goal and scores from Steen, Schwartz and Gunnarsson.
After Doan scored 23 seconds in, Tarasenko got his goal less than a minute later. His 28 goals lead the Blues, who have a power-play goal in six of their last 7 games.
Steen scored from an angle after Domingue provided too much room between himself and the goal at 4:22. Schwartz tapped in a puck as it danced along the goal line at 7:49.
''You get down early like that in a game, you're just chasing it, and that's hard to do,'' Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said.
Steen left the game near the 7:00 mark of the first period after he was knocked into the base of the boards on a hard check from Connauton. He skated off holding his left arm and did not return. He has 17 goals and 30 assists this season.
''We'll have a better evaluation on Monday,'' Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. The team will take Sunday off.
Gunnarsson's second goal of the season appeared to deflect off Connauton, making it 4-1. Niklas Treutle, called up from Springfield of the AHL on Feb. 16, came on for Domingue at 10:06 of the first period for his NHL debut.
Domingue returned to start the second period. Treutle, added to the roster with Anders Lindback out indefinitely after a recent Achilles tendon surgery, finished up the first period without allowing a goal and stopped four shots.
Brian Elliott had 18 saves for St. Louis.
Doan's 22 goals lead the Coyotes this season, and 11 of those have come in the first period.
A fight between Doan, the Coyotes' 39-year-old captain, and Blues defenseman Joel Edmundson broke out midway through the second period. Both players were penalized 5 minutes for fighting with Doan serving two more for roughing.
Connauton scored on a long shot that went through traffic in front of the net at 9:21 of the second period to cut the Blues' lead to two. Then he displayed some grit in keeping possession of the puck before taking a shot that Domi knocked in for a goal at 50 seconds of the third period, making it 4-3.
But the Coyotes' comeback bid was quieted when Berglund knocked in a pass from Scottie Upshall at 7:18 of the third. Domi scored with 33.2 seconds left and an extra attacker on the ice, then Backes got an empty-net goal.
''We've had over 60 scoring chances the last three games so we've just got to continue down that path,'' Hitchcock said.
The Coyotes sit outside the playoff picture at 60 points heading into the important East Coast trip.
''Great test for us,'' Tippett said. ''We're going to have to play hard, stingy road hockey and we expect to get points.''
NOTES: Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson left the game with a lower-body injury after being called for tripping 42 seconds into the game. He went back to the locker room, returned later in the first period and left again. Tippett said Ekman-Larsson is day to day and is expected to be on the road with the team. ... The Coyotes sported their throwback black Kachina-design jerseys from 20 years ago. ... Chicago White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton did the pregame howl for the crowd. The Sox hold spring training a couple of miles from Gila River Arena at Camelback Ranch.