The Blues pulled out a victory thanks to some unlikely sources.
The power-play went 2-for-2 on the evening and Evgeni Grachev scored his first career NHL goal, which turned out to be the game-winner, as they beat the Dallas Stars Monday night, 5-3.
Grachev was recalled from Peoria on December 12 and has been moved throughout the lineup. He received a chance to play on a line tonight with Patrik Berglund and David Perron.
“It was a big opportunity and a big responsibility [to move to the second line],” Grachev said. “It means more ice time.
“I enjoyed playing with those guys.”
Chris Stewart scored an early power-play goal, as well as adding an empty-netter in the third period, to score three goals in his last three games played.
Stewart’s first goal came off a bad angle shot that somehow eluded Dallas rookie net-minder Richard Bachman to give the Blues an early 1-0 lead at 8:24 of the first period.
“He’s working hard out there. He got a couple of good bounces tonight,” David Perron said of Stewart. “I’m sure he’s not happy with his season so far but I think with the way he has been working lately [it will] turn around for him.”
Jaroslav Halak made 20 saves on 23 shots in the victory, earning his seventh victory of the season. While the scoring chances were scarce for Dallas, they seemed to capitalize on every opportunity they could.
Dallas’ first goal of the game came at 4:22 of the second period when Mike Ribeiro received a pass from Steve Ott across the middle and took a wrist shot that squirted through Jaroslav Halak’s legs. It was Ribeiro’s sixth of the season.
The final two goals for Dallas came in the third period after the Blues had a 4-1 lead. Eric Nystrom scored at 7:57 off a high wrist shot from the high slot. The third goal came off the stick of Michael Ryder, roofing a shot over Halak on a two-on-one.
Dallas faced tougher goalie-woes though, as St. Louis scored two goals in the second period. Adam Cracknell received a late Christmas present, scoring his first goal of the season after being called up from Peoria this morning.
It came off a wrist shot about 15-feet out that somehow squirted through Bachman’s pads.
“He might have been screened a little bit, but I just moved my feet and tried to catch him off guard and it worked,” Cracknell said. “I’m happy with it.”
Jason Arnott added the second Blues power-play goal, one-timing a pass from teammate Patrik Berglund from the left point. It was Arnott’s eighth goal of the season and it came with just 1.1 seconds remaining in the second period.
After allowing 3 goals on 25 shots, Andrew Raycroft started the third period and allowed 1 goal on twelve shots.
The Blues will travel to play the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit Tuesday night. The game begins at 6:30 pm and will be broadcast on Versus.