Blues make Miller’s debut one to remember with comeback win over Coyotes
The St. Louis Blues did everything they could to make Ryan Miller’s debut a memorable one.
The Blues scored four times in the third period, including a pair from Patrik Berglund, to rally for a 4-2 victory over the Coyotes on Sunday night in Phoenix.
"They were working hard," Miller told FOX Sports Midwest’s Andy Strickland on the "Blues Live" postgame show. "They worked back well for each other and for me, and it was nice to see. We just made adjustments. It wasn’t really a situation where we were down on our ourselves or anything. The boys had a good confidence. They were talking about doing it and they did it."
St. Louis (40-14-6, 86 points) snapped some ugly streaks with its third-period comeback, including a two-game losing skid. The Blues hadn’t scored in their last eight periods and had not scored a goal on their last 28 power-play opportunities.
St. Louis was outplayed the first two periods and the frustration was mounting as the players were able to get pucks on net but were unable to get that one tally to break through.
That goal came 3:18 into the third period when Jaden Schwartz corralled a rebound in front and slipped a nice backhand pass to Berglund for his ninth goal of the season.
Berglund’s goal snapped a scoreless streak of 187 minutes and 44 seconds, a new franchise record. That number is hard to believe considering the Blues were not shut out in their first 57 games.
The goal also breathed new life into the Blues.
Magnus Paajarvi followed with his fifth goal to tie the score, and then Kevin Shattenkirk netted the game-winner on the power play at 12:46.
St. Louis hadn’t scored a power-play goal in its previous five games, the longest drought of the season.
Berglund added his 10th goal of the year late in the period.
The Blues couldn’t score on their 19 shots in the first two periods but then scored four times on just 11 shots in the final frame.
Even though St. Louis lost Friday in Anaheim, the club played the kind of heavy, physical style that has made it successful this season and will be needed in the playoffs.
That seemed to be missing in the first two periods Sunday, but the Blues got back to that in the third and finished with a season-high 36 hits, compared with just 28 for the Coyotes.
David Backes had a team-high five hits, but seven other players recorded three hits and four others added two hits apiece.
Miller, who was obtained along with forward Steve Ott in a trade with Buffalo, allowed a tough goal early in the first period on a shot that deflected off a defender, but he made his debut successful by saving 23 of the 25 shots on goal he faced.
After he was peppered with 12 shots in the first period, the Coyotes put eight shots on net in the second and just five in the third. The Blues were credited with 15 blocked shots.
Ott played 13 minutes and 58 seconds. He contributed two shots, three hits and one blocked shot and won all three of his faceoffs.
Ott’s ability on faceoffs could help the Blues, especially with Vladimir Sobotka still out with his injury. Ott has won 54.5 percent for his career.
You can follow Nate Latsch on Twitter (@natelatsch) or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.