ST. LOUIS – When the crowd roared, David Perron wondered why. He was certain they weren’t cheering for him.
The St. Louis forward was headed to the bench for a line change after a routine dump-in when the puck bounced past Phoenix Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov for the tying goal in the Blues’ 2-1 victory on Tuesday night.
“This is the luckiest one I’ve had in my career but we’ll take it right now,” Perron said of his second-period tally. “I thought someone else scored. I had no idea what happened.”
Jay McClement put St. Louis ahead with a short-handed goal in the second, spoiling a four-minute Coyotes power play, and goalie Chris Mason finished strong after his stickhandling mistake led to a Phoenix goal in the first.
The Blues improved to 6-2-4 in February and 26-26-8 overall, reaching the .500 mark for the first time since Dec. 10. They have two wins and an overtime loss the last three games despite totalling four goals.
“Obviously there’s a lot of hockey yet to play, but we’re moving in the right direction,” McClement said. “It’s a good sign that we kind of found a way to win.”
Shane Doan scored his 250th career goal for Phoenix, which wasn’t able to overcome Bryzgalov’s big mistake. The Coyotes missed a chance for a third straight victory and have lost 10 of 13 overall.
“To get beat the way we did, a flukey goal and our power play lets up a short-handed goal, that’s a tough loss to swallow,” Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky said. “I thought we did a lot of really good, positive things.
“The big negative was the power play, we didn’t score and we allowed a goal.”
A four-minute high-sticking call on the Blues’ David Backes ended up backfiring on the Coyotes on the deciding goal. McClement scored his ninth of the season and third short-handed on a 2-on-1 break with T.J. Oshie at 15:36 of the second period.
McClement had no short-handed goals before this season.
“We’re starting to get some chances and that comes with getting the opportunity to get out there first on every penalty kill,” said McClement, in his fourth season. “The short-handers are just a bonus.”
Oshie started the play by blocking a shot on the other end. Phoenix ended up with three shots on the power play, none of them great chances.
Bryzgalov stymied McClement’s bid for a second short-handed goal with about three minutes to go, stopping the forward on a breakaway.
Mason fanned on a clearing attempt to set up the Coyotes’ goal on their first shot, by Doan at 6:14 of the opening period.
Bryzgalov’s flub on Perron’s dump-in from outside the blue line was much bigger. The puck found a hole on the goalie’s stick side, and it appeared that Bryzgalov actually helped sweep it into the net.
Mason usually celebrates the Blues’ scores with a fist pump, but not this time.
“It was an unlucky play, but I was pretty relieved,” Mason said. “It helped change the game for us. It just seemed like we had a little more jump in our step and it was game on again.”
Coyotes players bemoaned lost opportunities to pull ahead before that goal.
“We’ve got to find ways to bury the puck when we get great chances and unbelievable opportunities,” Doan said. “You can only go so long before something’s going to happen and unfortunately it did.”
Notes: The Blues placed F Yan Stastny on waivers, one day after recalling him from Peoria (AHL). … Blues enforcer Cam Janssen had the hit of the game, flattening Zbynek Michalek behind the Phoenix net midway through the first period. … McClement has two short-handed goals this month, also beating the Oilers on Feb. 5, and had totalled two assists in the eight games since. … Doan has 15 goals and 26 assists in 52 career games against the Blues.