EditorsNote: 8th graf, change 12 assists to eight assists
Oskar Sundqvist and Ryan O’Reilly each had two points, and rookie Jordan Binnington made 28 saves in the St. Louis Blues’ 4-1 victory over the visiting Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.
After shutting out the Philadelphia Flyers on Jan. 7 in his first NHL start, Binnington turned in another strong outing against Montreal. He came up particularly big early in the third period, first with a save to rob Victor Mete on a two-on-one chance, and then on a pair of stops on Nicolas Deslauriers within a three-second flurry.
Binnington now has a 1.59 goals against average over 188 minutes played this season. As St. Louis fights to get back into the playoff race, Binnington’s hot streak gives him a strong argument for more playing time over the team’s regular starter, Jake Allen, who is 14-14-4 with a 3.07 GAA.
Sundqvist recorded an assist and also notched his eighth goal of the season, coming while the Blues were short-handed 16:24 into the first period. After the Canadiens had a bad faceoff draw in the St. Louis end, Sundqvist and O’Reilly were sprung for a two-on-one, with Sundqvist taking the pass for the score.
More special teams success had led to the Blues’ first goal, as Robert Thomas scored on a power play just 1:56 into the game.
Midway through the first period, Thomas took an awkward fall into the boards while chasing the puck, and he didn’t return to the game. The Blues later announced that Thomas sustained an upper-body injury.
Jay Bouwmeester and Sammy Blais also scored for St. Louis. For Blais, it was his first goal in 18 games this season and his second in 29 career NHL games.
David Perron recorded an assist on Bouwmeester’s goal, extending his career-best point streak to nine games. Perron has four goals and eight assists over that stretch.
Brendan Gallagher accounted for Montreal’s lone goal, banking a shot off St. Louis captain Alex Pietrangelo and into the net at 9:02 of the second period.
Gallagher’s goal snapped an 0-for-14 drought on the power play for the Canadiens. Montreal entered the game last among all 31 teams in power-play percentage this season.
The lack of power-play scoring has been just one aspect of Montreal’s recent offensive slump. The Canadiens have just seven goals over their past five games, going 2-3-0 in that span.
—Field Level Media