DALLAS – The St. Louis Blues are working on another late-season surge.
Paul Kariya scored twice, combining with Brad Boyes for a pair of goals during a 17-second span of the first period, and the Blues extended their winning streak to a season-best five games with a 6-1 victory over the Dallas Stars on Thursday night. Alexander Steen, Patrik Berglund and T.J. Oshie added goals for the Blues, who’ve scored 23 goals during the five-game stretch.
Last season, the Blues closed with a 9-4-1 surge to earn a playoff spot.
“I’m new to the situation, but I’m aware of what happened last year,” said coach Davis Payne, who took over for the fired Andy Murray on Jan. 2. “This is a new (season). We know exactly what we have to do and it’s good for us to have that type of experience to know it’s possible.”
Chris Mason made 29 saves for the Blues, who boosted their road record to 18-9-4 in the matchup of teams attempting to climb into the Western Conference’s top eight.
St. Louis has 69 points – one more than Dallas – and the Blues pulled even with Calgary at No. 9. Detroit holds the conference’s No. 8 spot with 70 points.
Loui Eriksson scored for the Stars, who’ve lost both games and been outscored 11-2 since returning from the Olympic break.
“We’re beating ourselves,” Stars defenceman Stephane Robidas said. “We get down and start pouting. When you don’t show up and don’t give the effort, that’s what happens. We can’t blame it on the break. We should have come out full of energy that that hasn’t been the case.”
The Blues have needed the current hot streak to compensate for a 6-8-4 start and a seven-game (0-5-2) slump in December and January.
“Unfortunately it’s taken us this long to get it going,” Oshie said. “Now everyone is getting used to each other on a consistent basis.”
St. Louis scored four goals on its first 11 shots before Dallas coach Marc Crawford replaced starter Marty Turco with Kari Lehtonen, making his season debut.
Dallas acquired Lehtonen in a trade with Atlanta on Feb. 9. Lehtonen had been out since last April with back problems.
The Blues went in front 1-0 at 9:28 of the first period when Kariya’s shot from the right circle got past Turco with the help of a screen by St. Louis’ David Backes.
Dallas tied it at 15:16 of the opening period when Eriksson notched his 24th from close range off James Neal’s centring pass.
Boyes gave the Blues the lead for good at 17:28 of the first period, and Kariya extended St. Louis’ edge to 3-1 with his second of the night on a shot that went in off Turco’s stick at 17:45.
Answering Eriksson’s score with a pair of rapid-fire goals turned the game in the Blues’ favour.
“The first shift after a goal for or against is very important,” Oshie said. “For us to go out and (score a second goal) was even better.”
When Steen beat Turco at 1:50 of the second period, Crawford went with Lehtonen, who gave up goals to Berglund and Oshie in the third period as the Blues completed the rout.
NOTES: D Mark Fistric (knee) was back in the Dallas lineup after missing five games following arthroscopic knee surgery. He sustained the injury on Feb. 4 and was placed on injured reserve four days later. … Dallas matched its season high for goals allowed. … Prior to the game, the Stars recognized Turco for playing in his 500th NHL game on Tuesday night. Turco became the 57th goalie in league history to reach the milestone. … RW Matt D’Agostini made his debut for the Blues after being acquired in a trade with Montreal. … Dallas has 19 games remaining; St. Louis has 18.