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Halak makes 19 saves for shutout and Blues blank Panthers 7-0

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

ST. LOUIS - Jaroslav Halak knows his hockey history.

He is well aware of the legacy left by former St. Louis goalie Glen Hall.

Halak passed Hall with his franchise-record 17th shutout and Alex Steen scored on a penalty shot to lead the Blues to a 7-0 win over the Florida Panthers on Saturday.

Halak made 19 saves in moving into the No. 1 spot on the Blues' career shutout list.

Hall had 16 shutouts for St. Louis from 1967-1971.

"He was a great goaltender and he's in the Hall of Fame," Halak said. "It's a special feeling. I'm glad I was able to pass him, but I couldn't have done it without my teammates."

Halak posted his 26th career shutout and improved to 8-1 lifetime against the Panthers.

"He made five or six quality saves in the first period," St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said. "He was feeling strong."

Newcomers Brenden Morrow and Derek Roy scored their first goals of the season for St. Louis, which received goals from seven different players. The Blues have outscored their opponents 11-2 with 10 different players scoring goals this season.

Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz also converted against Florida goalie Tim Thomas, who was pulled after the second period. He allowed five goals on 28 shots.

The Blues' seven-goal outburst was their largest since they won at Detroit 10-3 on March 30, 2011.

Florida, which beat Dallas 4-2 in its opener, was looking to start the season 2-0 for the first time in eight years.

Schwartz added two assists and also received a fighting major in the third period to record a "Gordie Howe hat trick," a goal, assist and a fighting major in the same game named after the former Detroit Red Wings great.

The mild-mannered Schwartz joked that his last fight came at Colorado College as a 17-year-old.

He stood toe-to-toe with Kris Versteeg late in the third period. His teammates placed a piece of tape with "Gordie" above his locker after the game.

"I wasn't expecting this to happen," Schwartz said.

Morrow and Roy were signed as free agents in the off-season to add offensive punch. They have also added depth to the attack in the first two games.

"We knew all along that we probably don't have that superstar talent, but we're a grinding team that's solid throughout," Morrow said. "Anyone can be the hero any given night. That makes us really hard to defend."

Schwartz agreed, "Coming in, we knew we had a deep team," he said. "We're not going to have just one line carry us."

Morrow scored his 250th career goal off a pass from Roy to give St. Louis a 1-0 lead in the first period.

The Blues then broke the game open with four goals in a 6:32 span in the second period. Tarasenko scored off a pass from Schwartz, who converted from close range less than three minutes later to make it 3-0.

Steen beat Thomas on a backhand in the closing minute of the second period to record the Blues' first regular-season penalty shot goal since Patrik Berglund scored on Jan. 24, 2013, in a 3-0 win over Nashville.

Florida managed just six shots in each of the first two periods.

Thomas, who made 25 stops in the win over Dallas, played well in the first period, but struggled in the second period.

"When it started to go downhill, it snowballed quickly," Thomas said. "That's a lesson. That can happen in this league. I was kind of waiting for the momentum to switch over to us, but it never did.

Florida coach Kevin Dineen was disappointed in the effort of his team.

"It was a man's game and we didn't rise to the occasion tonight," he said. "We got outplayed in every aspect of the game."

Notes: St. Louis improved to 10-3-1 at home against Florida, outscoring the Panthers 40-18. ... Florida began the season with four successive road games for the first time in franchise history. ... St. Louis played host to an Eastern Conference opponent for the first time since facing Boston on Feb. 22, 2012. ...The Blues have killed off all 11 penalties this season.


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