Stewart’s scoring burst comes at the perfect time for Blues
ST. LOUIS — Chris Stewart’s season didn’t get off to a good start, but he’s been able to make up for lost time lately.
Though the St. Louis Blues’ winger had two assists in his second game of the season, those accounted for his only points in his first 10 games. That’s two points for the entire month of October.
Stewart was much better in November and has been red hot recently when the Blues, suddenly besieged by injuries among their forwards, have needed him most.
Leading scorer Alexander Steen is the latest injury casualty for the Blues, who have placed forwards Ryan Reaves (broken hand) and Vladimir Sobotka (upper body) on injured reserve and recently played games without David Backes and Jaden Schwartz.
The streaky Stewart has been the best goal scorer in the NHL over his past six games. He’s lit the lamp eight times, including a hat trick Saturday night in Edmonton, on just 11 shots and added two assists for 10 points.
Stewart, who was named the NHL’s First Star of the week Monday, had recorded five goals, six assists and 11 points in his first 29 games this season.
"I’m starting to get some bounces now," Stewart said Thursday after scoring a goal against the Canadiens. "I’m just trying to get to the net and get open."
Stewart, 26, had a chance at a hat trick Thursday, too. After scoring the Blues’ third goal of the first period, he later had two golden scoring opportunities but couldn’t find the net.
"I’m definitely going to take what I can get, but I am hungry to get some more," Stewart said.
The 6-foot-2, 231-pounder, who ranks third on the Blues in goals (13) and ninth in points (21), still remains a bit of a mystery in St. Louis.
A first-round draft pick (No. 18 overall) by Colorado in 2006, Stewart recorded 28 goals, 36 assists and 64 points in 77 games during his sophomore season with the Avalanche in 2009-10.
He was part of the blockbuster trade the next season that brought him, defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk and a 2011 second-round draft pick (Ty Rattie) to the Blues in exchange for former No. 1 overall pick Erik Johnson, Jay McClement and a 2011 first-round draft pick (Duncan Siemens).
Since the trade, Stewart leads the Blues in goals — he has 61, while Backes has 56 and Steen 51 — and he’s fourth in total points (110), trailing Backes (132), Oshie (121) and defenseman Alex Pietrangelo and just ahead of Shattenkirk (108).
But he hasn’t been the consistent all-around point producer he showed he could be with Colorado.
Stewart had 53 points during the 2010-11 season, splitting games between Colorado and St. Louis, then had just 30 points (15 goals, 15 assists) in 79 games in 2011-12.
There are promising signs that this recent stretch is a breakthrough for Stewart and the Blues.
Since the start of the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, Stewart has now recorded 31 goals and 26 assists for 57 points in 83 games. The 31 goals are tied for 20th in the NHL during that time — Steen has 32 goals, which is tied for 17th — and his 57 points are tied for 59th.
Saturday night was Stewart’s third career hat trick and first with the Blues. Stewart buried a pass from Schwartz in the first period, assisted on a goal by Morrow in the second, scored on a pass from Patrik Berglund in the third period and then added a power-play goal on a pass from Derek Roy later in the third.
It added up to the third four-point night of Stewart’s six-year career.
And, Blues fans hope, not the last.
You can follow Nate Latsch on Twitter (@natelatsch) or email him at email@example.com.