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Lots of firsts for Blues in 5-2 win over Pittsburgh

Lots of firsts for Blues in 5-2 win over Pittsburgh

Blues take on Penguins at home

St. Louis Blues defenseman Justin Faulk celebrates with St. Louis Blues center Ryan O'Reilly and St. Louis Blues left wing David Perron after scoring a goal during the first period of the Blues game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019. Photo by Troy Stolt,

It was a night of firsts for Justin Faulk, Nathan Walker and Jacob de la Rose. Faulk and Walker got their first goals as members of the Blues. De la Rose got his first assist.

And the Blues got another win with a 5-2 victory over Pittsburgh before another sellout crowd of 18,096 Satruday at Enterprise Center.

The Blues thus maintained their Western Conference-leading status, improving to 17-5-6 on the season. Pittsburgh fell to 14-9-4. The teams will meet again on Wednesday in Pittsburgh.

The game marked the second night of a back-to-back for the Blues and their third game in four nights. But there were no signs of fatigue. If anything, the Blues seemed to get stronger as the game went along.

And now, after a St. Louis pit stop of about 36 hours, they will fly out Chicago on Sunday afternoon.

Nathan Walker thought he had his first goal Friday in Dallas. But a successful offside challenge by the Stars nullified the goal _ with Walker as the offside offender.

But there was no denying Walker in the second period of Saturday's game with the Pittsburgh Penguins at Enterprise.

Flying down right wing on a rush with Jaden Schwartz, Walker swatted a Schwartz past Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray to give the Blues a 2-1 lead with 5:59 to play in the period.

It was the second career NHL goal for Walker in what was only his 14th career NHL game _ and his second game with St. Louis since being called up last Sunday from San Antonio.

Some prepared Blues fans at Enterprise responded by waving an Australian flag _ Walker is from Sydney.

"When I saw the replay, I saw it," Walker said. "It definitely makes you proud. Australia is a long ways from here. For them to make the effort and obviously bring the flag means a lot to me."

Pittsburgh dominated the period otherwise, outshooting the Blues 19-8 and tying the game at 1-1 when Sam Lafferty skated circles around Blues defenseman Derrick Pouliot on his way to the net and then swooped in alone on Jordan Binnington. Lafferty's  fourth goal of the season came 6 1/2 minutes into the second period.

In the third period, the Blues added to their lead with goals by Ivan Barbashev, Mackenzie MacEachern and Schwartz. MacEachern's goal, his third of the season came on a room-service feed by de la Rose, acquired by the Blues in the Robby Fabbri trade in early November.

"First, it was a good forecheck there by (Troy) Brouwer," de la Rose said. "I got the puck on my stick and I saw Mac was driving the net and I just tried to hit his tape."

It has been 28 games in the making, but defenseman Justin Faulk finally scored his first Blues goal. Just 13 seconds after a Blues power play ended against Pittsburgh, a Faulk shot from near the blue line made its way through traffic and beat Murray for a 1-0 Blues lead in the first period.

As was the case on a Colton Parayko goal Friday in Dallas, Zach Sanford provided a net front presence, making it difficult for Murray to pick up the puck off Faulk's stick. In eight seasons with Carolina, Faulk had four 10-goal seasons, including 11 goals last season.

But he had struggled to find the net after being sent to St. Louis in the Joel Edmundson trade in late September _ to the point where coach Craig Berube removed Faulk from the second power play unit prior to the Tampa Bay game last Wednesday.

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