Blues respond to coaching change with 5-1 win over Maple Leafs
ST. LOUIS — Jake Allen hopes he’s put his struggles behind him.
The St. Louis goalie stopped 26 shots and Paul Stastny scored twice to help the Blues beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-1 on Thursday night.
Allen won for the first time since Jan. 2, when the Blues beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 in the Winter Classic. He had been pulled in four of his previous five starts.
“I felt good, another step for me,” Allen said. “It was a really tough time for me. But hopefully, that’s in the past, Hopefully, I’ve got more to give.”
Vladimir Tarasenko, Alexander Steen and Colton Parayko also scored for St. Louis, which had lost five of its previous six.
Mike Yeo won in his first game as Blues coach, a day after he replaced the fired Ken Hitchcock.
Allen came up big in the first period with stops on Connor Brown and James van Riemsdyk.
“I really felt that Jake was going to have a strong game,” Yeo said. “I thought he was outstanding, a real difference-maker in the first period.”
Stastny and Tarasenko scored 35 seconds apart in the second period to break a 1-1 tie.
It was the second two-goal game of the season for Stastny, who said the club was anxious to win for its new coach.
“A new kind of sense of urgency, a new life,” Stastny said. “We just wanted to have a better attitude than we’ve had in the past.”
Yeo was hired in the offseason as the associate coach and was scheduled to replace Hitchcock next season. He was rewarded for the victory with a memento — and a little good-natured kidding from his players.
“I got a puck,” Yeo said. “The guys also criticized my tie. I thought it was pretty good. I guess it’s not.”
Mitchell Marner scored for Toronto, which fell to 1-3 on its season-high six-game road trip.
“They were just better than us,” Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. “They were faster and more determined.”
— FOX Sports Midwest (@FSMidwest) February 3, 2017
St. Louis, which broke a four-game home losing streak, scored three goals in a span of 4:35 in the second period.
Stastny converted from in front of the net off a pass from Steen for a 2-1 lead. Tarasenko, who leads the team with 23 goals, tallied on a wrist shot from the slot seconds later.
Toronto goalie Frederik Andersen gave up five goals on 31 shots. He was lifted from Tuesday’s 6-3 loss at Dallas after surrendering three goals on eight shots in 11:12.
Marner scored his 13th of the season late in the first period for a 1-0 lead.
“They took it to us in that second period and we had trouble getting our feet back,” Marner said. “When we get the lead, we’ve got to stick with the game plan and play the way we want to.”
NOTES: The Blues retired the No. 5 sweater worn by D Bob Plager in a 64-minute ceremony before the game. Plager has been part of the organization since its inception in 1967. It was the seventh jersey retired by the team. … Tarasenko has scored in four consecutive games against Toronto. … Maple Leafs D Morgan Rielly returned to the lineup after missing six games with an ankle injury.
Blues: Host Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Maple Leafs: At Boston on Saturday in the fifth game of a season-high six-game road trip.