By Stephen Hunt, The Sports Xchange
DALLAS — Away victories are a rare occurrence for the St. Louis Blues this season. However, on Tuesday night against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center, the Blues prevailed 3-2 thanks to an overtime game-winner from David Perron.
“It’s a great feeling to win on the road,” Perron said after scoring 1:55 into the extra frame.
Jaden Schwartz won a puck battle on the far wall with Esa Lindell to start the sequence. Schwartz then fell to the ice, but Perron gathered the puck, getting Stars goaltender Antti Niemi, who stopped 19 of 22 shots, to commit to stopping him on the backhand side at the near post.
Perron then skated around the back of the Dallas net and slipped the puck in at the far post for the game-winner, his eighth goal of the season.
“I go around Niemi there and I’m thinking I might be able to wrap it short side, and then to leave and go to the other side — it was a little bit risky,” Perron said. “I’m glad it went in. The reaction for half a second was bizarre, but we’ll take it. And it was a big two points for us.”
Schwartz and Patrik Berglund also scored for the Blues (18-11-5), who snapped a two-game losing streak. Jake Allen stopped 36 of 38 shots for St. Louis, which is now 5-5 in overtime and 5-9-1 on the road.
Dallas (14-14-6) got goals from Patrick Eaves and Jason Spezza, who also had an assist. The Stars, who have won consecutive games only once this season, are now 1-7 in overtime and 1-8-4 after wins.
“We turned the puck over (in overtime), which hurt us,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “We were just going to get possession; we had possession and didn’t execute good enough. And that again hurt us.”
Dallas struck first when Eaves scored his team-leading 12th goal of the season on the power play 7:04 into the game. Following a pass from Spezza, Eaves beat Allen with a wrist shot from the right circle to the short side.
The Stars were on a four-minute power play after Vladimir Tarasenko drew blood to the face of Jiri Hudler with a high stick 4:48 into the first period.
To his credit, Allen responded after conceding that goal.
“That’s my job. If I didn’t (respond), game’s over; it’s pretty simple,” Allen said. “I just wanted to give the boys a chance today. They played really hard for me. I had to do the same.”
St. Louis answered at 11:15 when Schwartz scored his 12th goal of the season. The opportunistic Schwartz capitalized when an attempted pass by Paul Stastny from the slot deflected off Johnny Oduya’s skate and fell at Schwartz’s skates. Schwartz quickly scored at the far post to make it 1-1.
“It’s a big one for our club, big momentum booster, good character win,” Schwartz said. “We did a lot of good things today. It was a hard win against a good team (that) plays well in their building.”
Dallas took a 2-1 lead when Spezza scored his sixth goal of the season off a rebound with 1:24 remaining before the second intermission. Allen turned away a backhand attempt from Jiri Hudler, but Spezza pounced on the rebound.
“We had our chances to win the game. We were probably guilty of letting them hang around too long,” Spezza said.
St. Louis tied it 54 seconds later when Berglund scored on a backhand from the slot with 30.1 seconds remaining in the period. Berglund received a pass from Jay Bouwmeester and finished for his fifth goal of the season.
Oduya pushed Perron into Niemi on the goal, leading Ruff to challenge the equalizer on those grounds. However, following an official review, the goal stood as officials determined there was no goaltender interference.
“I knew it was going to be a tough one, but I saw a guy in the crease and I just felt (Niemi) wasn’t quite able to make the move to make that save,” Ruff said.
The Blues were playing without captain Alex Pietrangelo, who was sidelined due to illness. Statsny also played just 2:15 after the second period due to an upper-body injury.
“Yeah, that’s exactly what it was, an unselfish, gutty win,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “It wasn’t pretty. I thought for the game we had yesterday (a 3-2 overtime loss to Edmonton) and the emotional content (of that loss and being on a back-to-back) that we’ve gone through, this is an impressive win.”
Dallas lost despite outshooting St. Louis 38-22.
“We played a pretty solid game,” Stars defenseman Dan Hamhuis said. “They’re a really good team. They don’t give you too much. To get that many opportunities is a real positive in this game.”