St. Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - Alexander Steen potted his 18th and 19th
goals of the season to back a 22-save effort from Jaroslav Halak that carried
the St. Louis Blues to a 3-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild at Scottrade
Vladimir Sobotka also scored in the Blues' fourth consecutive win and sixth in
a row over the Wild, who entered the Central Division showdown owning a
league-best 9-1-1 record in November.
Niklas Backstrom, subbing for an injured Josh Harding, turned back 18-of-20
shots for Minnesota.
"We got behind the eight-ball and it's tough to come back in this league,"
Wild forward Jason Pominville said. "They're a tough team to play against
anyway, but when they get the lead, it makes it even tougher."
The Blues gave Halak all the support he would need a mere 1:20 into the
contest. After working the puck to Carlo Colaicovo for a long drive that
Backstrom stopped, Sobotka raced in to poke home rebound past the sprawling
netminder for a quick 1-0 St. Louis lead.
Steen scored in a similar fashion with 6:22 remaining in the opening session,
cradling in the carom after Backstrom kicked aside Jay Bouwmeester's blast
from the point and going top-shelf with a backhander.
The Wild, meanwhile, generated few scoring chances over the first two periods,
with Halak recording only 10 saves during that stretch. They dialed up the
intensity in the third, though to no avail.
Backstrom was pulled with under two minutes to go, enabling Steen to register
his second of the night with a wrist shot that found its way into the vacated
net with 1:22 left to play.
"The first two periods, it was no shots again, no action for me, just a couple
shots," Halak said. "I just needed to stay focused tonight. It wasn't easy,
but going into the third and having the lead, that's what we wanted."
Colaiacovo, signed by the Blues on Nov. 14, made his season debut with fellow
defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk scratched due to the flu ... Harding is dealing
with a lower-body injury that occurred during warmups of Saturday's win at
Winnipeg ... The Blues announced that right wing Ryan Reaves had surgery
Monday to repair a fractured right hand he sustained while fighting Dallas
defenseman Brenden Dillon on Saturday. He is expected to miss six weeks ...
St. Louis improved to 14-1-2 when scoring first this season ... The Blues have
registered a point in 11 straight home games, going 8-0-3 over that stretch.
The Sports Network