TORONTO – Alex Steen says he has a lot of fond memories playing at the Air Canada Centre.
Had it not been for the crossbar behind Maple Leafs goaltender Jonas Gustavsson, he could have added another to his collection.
In his first game in Toronto since being traded in November of 2008, Steen had scored in regulation and in a shootout, but his St. Louis Blues fell 6-5 to the Maple Leafs on Thursday night.
While Steen was a solid offensive contributor to his team, which came back from a 5-2 deficit in the third period, he rued the chances that got away after the game.
“It was tough, I hit the crossbar there at the end of the third and had some good chances in OT,” Steen said. “It would have been nice to come back that way.
“That one that went off the bar, it would have been nice if that one went in.”
The St. Louis roster boasts six players born in Ontario and four from the Greater Toronto Area.
Steen isn’t one of those local guys, but he was a promising first round draft pick (24th overall in 2004) by the Maple Leafs who has grown into a very important player for the Blues.
Steen was traded along with Mississauga, Ont., native Carlo Colaiacovo to the Blues from the Leafs in November 2008 for Lee Stempniak. Colaiacovo is another Toronto first-rounder (17th in 2001) and both players spent their formative years in the NHL with the Leafs.
“We talked about it before,” Steen said. “You have good memories in this building.”
St. Louis head coach Davis Payne is comfortable playing Steen in any situation. He leads all healthy Blues forwards in average ice time and played 21:03 against the Leafs. The 26-year-old scored the game’s second goal to tie the game 1-1 less than four minutes into the first period.
He was on the ice to finish regulation and at the beginning and ending of overtime. He also took St. Louis’s first shot of the shootout, scoring on a backhand deke.
“We played here for a while and it’s unfortunate we couldn’t win,” Steen said.