Ivan Barbashev, Patrik Berglund and Alexander Steen provided the scoring as the St. Louis Blues maintained their momentum in the first game back from the All-Star break, posting a 3-1 victory over the visiting Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.
The Blues have won three consecutive games and are making a push to take over first place in the Central Division. Goalie Carter Hutton, who started his sixth straight game, finished with 34 saves and was just 1 minute, 7 seconds away from his third shutout of the year.
St. Louis was outshot 34-31 but made the most of its chances. The Blues won 34 of 58 faceoffs to dictate the run of play.
Carey Price had 28 saves and took the hard-luck loss for the Canadiens, who have lost three of their past four games. Montreal sits near the bottom of the Atlantic Division, and its playoff hopes are fading.
St. Louis also beat the Canadiens 4-3 on Dec. 5 and have now won four straight in the series.
The Blues took the lead 4:38 into the second period on an unassisted goal by Barbashev. He picked up a loose puck and took a shot around three Montreal defenseman that appeared to screen Price.
Canadiens right winger Logan Shaw was penalized for holding with 12:36 left in the second period, giving the Blues their first power play of the night. However, St. Louis could not capitalize on several opportunities.
Montreal increased the pressure in the final period to try and find a game-tying goal. That opened up opportunities for the Blues to mount effective counterattacks.
The Canadiens committed a costly penalty for too many players on the ice, and Berglund made them pay with a close-range goal with 14:46 left in the game. Montreal never recovered, and Steen scored a short-handed goal in an empty net to increase the lead to 3-0.
Charles Hudon’s late power-play goal allowed the Canadiens to avoid their seventh shutout defeat of the season.
--Field Level Media