ST. LOUIS (Ticker) — An explosive effort from the offense eased
the St. Louis Blues’ pain of being without goaltender Manny
Legace. It even overshadowed the fact they may have lost their
backup netminder as well.
Brad Boyes scored a pair of goals as the Blues cruised to a 4-0
victory Saturday over the Florida Panthers despite seeing rookie
Ben Bishop leave with a lower body injury.
Keith Tkachuk recorded a power-play goal – his eighth of the
season – and an assist while Andy McDonald set up three tallies
for the Blues, who snapped a two-game skid. Paul Kariya also
notched a goal and an assist.
“Our work ethic was more up to the standard that we’ve had for
the greater part of the year,” Blues coach Andy Murray said.
“That was the difference to me, our level of determination. As
a coach, you always grade your team on their play away from the
puck, and it was a lot better tonight.”
Tkachuk has scored 13 goals in 19 career games against Florida,
while Kariya has seven tallies and 12 assists in 17 contests vs.
Starting in place of the injured Legace, Bishop exited early in
the third after kicking away the puck while sliding across the
crease. He had turned aside five shots in the first period and
seven in the second.
“The team was playing great tonight,” Bishop said. “I felt
comfortable out there and I wasn’t nervous. Very disappointing,
you never want to have the leave the game.”
Marek Schwarz made five saves in relief to secure the shutout.
Bishop replaced Legace in his NHL debut on Friday and allowed
two goals on 17 shots in a 4-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings.
He was forced to start this contest by default since regular
backup Chris Mason is out for at least another week after
undergoing an appendectomy.
St. Louis was able to bounce back after being shut out for the
first time this season. In that one, Tkachuk failed to score a
goal for the first time in eight games, while Kariya had a
career-best nine-game assists streak snapped.
The two veterans, however, made their presence felt on Saturday.
Boyes opened the scoring on the power play with 4:35 left in the
first period. Tkachuk took a pass on the doorstep from McDonald
and backhanded it to Boyes, who flipped the puck past goaltender
“We knew we had to turn it around tonight,” McDonald said.
“(Friday) was pretty disappointing. We were really flat and we
made a lot of mistakes. Tonight, we came out and played a full
game. Obviously, we got ahead, and it’s nice not to have to
overcome a two- or three-goal deficit.”
Kariya doubled the lead just 36 seconds into the middle session,
and Tkachuk netted a power-play goal with 6:04 remaining in the
period for a 3-0 bulge.
Boyes capped the scoring with 4:33 left in the game, tapping in
McDonald’s rebound from in front.
“Full marks to St. Louis,” Panthers coach Peter DeBoer said.
“They got beat last night at home, and we knew we’d see their
best game tonight. They took it to us. They were ready to
play, and they beat us to all loose pucks. They outworked us
and they were more disciplined.
“The disappointing part for me is that even though we were at
the end of a trip and we maybe didn’t have great legs, but we
need to figure out a way to hang around in games like this.”
Anderson stopped 27 shots for Florida, which had won three of
its previous four games. He cited St. Louis’ power-play unit,
which is second in the NHL at 34.2 percent, as the main reason
why his team failed.
“It’s a very frustrating night for everybody,” Anderson said.
“We got in a little bit of penalty trouble there, and they have
the best power play in the league. We gave them a couple of
goals that way and we took ourselves out of the game a little