Winless in their previous four games, the Blues came out with a dominating effort and beat Colorado, the last team in the NHL without a regulation loss, 3-1 on Monday night at Enterprise Center.
Goals by David Perron and Vladimir Tarasenko in the second period snapped a 1-1 tie as the Blues held the league's highest scoring team to one goal in a game that was a consensus choice as the best by the team this season.
"It's the most solid game I've seen all year with us," coach Craig Berube said. "Start to finish."
"That was probably our best game off the year, throughout the entire game," captain Alex Pietrangelo said. "I thought we played really well, I thought everybody skated well, good energy. It's what we were looking for."
Colorado had season lows in goals (one) and shots on goal (18). The only goal they got came with a two-man advantage. At five-on-five, or even five-on-four, they were shutout.
The Blues chased away another one of their recent pratfalls by taking a two-goal lead and holding on to it. Two-goal leads have meant trouble lately for the Blues. The last two times the Blues were up two goals, they blew the lead and went on to lose in overtime or a shootout.
It was a solid second period for the Blues that decided it, as they outshot the Avalanche 11-1 in the period and had a 22-8 edge in shot attempts.
"I thought it was a real solid game throughout," Berube said. "We were on the right side of things the whole game. I thought we checked well, just worked. We were stingy tonight. Good defensively."
The Blues took the lead when Perron scored on a shot in the slot during a delayed penalty on Colorado. It's the fifth goal of the season for Perron.
One second under 10 minutes later, Vladimir Tarasenko scored his third goal of the season from a few feet above the goal line, banking the shot in off Colorado goalie Philipp Grubauer. With a goal and two assists, Tarasenko had a hand in every goal. He has points in five straight games, and eight total in that span.
Berube said he wanted to see his team cut down on penalties after being called for five on Saturday against Montreal, but that didn't happen. The Blues were called for six in the game, two on Jay Bouwmeester and two on Jaden Schwartz, though the severity of some could be debated.
"It's too many penalties," Berube said.
So the Blues didn't achieve their coach's goal on that one. They had four in the first period, starting with a trip by Schwartz, followed by interference on Alexander Steen, a hook by Bouwmeester and a roughing call on Mackenzie MacEachern, who delivered a forceful hit on Andre Burakovksy after he had been called for holding Ivan Barbashev. MacEachern's hit led to a scrum and roughing minors that cancelled out while the Blues got a late power play.
For the game, the Blues killed four of Colorado's five power plays.
MacEachern, by the way, had more penalty time, two minutes, in the first period, than ice time, 1:34. Eight minutes and six seconds of the first period were played on special teams.
The penalties by Steen and Bouwmeester came 1:34 apart, giving the Avalanche a five-on-three advantage for 26 seconds. With three seconds left in two-man advantage, Nathan MacKinnon took a shot from the slot that got past Jordan Binnington to tie the game.
The Blues had taken the lead on a power-play goal of their own with 9:43 to go in the first. Vince Dunn passed to Brayden Schenn on the right, and he skated back tot he middle, shooting from the left edge of the right circle and past Philipp Grubauer. That power play was set up by something you don't see very often. Colorado's Ian Cole was coming off the ice, and the player coming on for him saw the puck coming their way, so jumped back on the bench. Cole had opened the door to the bench and was stepping off the ice, with the puck coming his way. He saw it coming his way and with one foot still on the bench, Cole played the puck, which qualifies as interference.
It was the sixth goal of the season for Schenn, who has points in seven of nine games.