Dmitrij Jaskin comes up big again, boosts Blues past Coyotes
Spending a month in the minors earlier this season seems to have done Dmitrij Jaskin a lot of good. The third-line rookie forward has given the St. Louis Blues a major boost.
Jaskin got the go-ahead goal for the second time in four games in a 2-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night. The second-round pick from 2009 has seven goals in 27 games, four of them giving St. Louis the lead.
"I think he's up to speed where he's just playing, he's not thinking," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Everything's automatic. You see some of the stuff he does now as the same stuff he did as a 19-year-old junior player."
The 23-year-old Jaskin had 15 points in 17 games with Chicago (AHL) earlier this season and noted it hasn't hurt playing on a line with Paul Stastny and Patrik Berglund.
On his goal, Jaskin was actually hoping to create a rebound for Berglund.
"I didn't see it until I went behind the net," Jaskin said. "So, it's a good surprise to me."
Alexander Steen also scored and goalie Jake Allen got a light workload until late for the Blues, who avoided their first three-game losing streak of the season.
Arizona had the only two penalties of the game before St. Louis defenseman Jay Bouwmeester was whistled for holding with 2:43 to go. The Coyotes pulled their goalie, getting four of their 26 shots on the ensuing power play.
"They were throwing pucks at the net and got a few through," Allen said. "Guys boxed them out hard, didn't give them too many rebounds. It was nice. Picked up a big win."
Sam Gagner scored and Mike Smith made 34 saves for Arizona, coming off a shootout victory at Chicago a night earlier.
"You could tell fatigue was a bit of a factor, but that being said I thought our third period was our best," coach Dave Tippett said. "We kept pushing."
The Blues are 3-0 against the Coyotes, among the lowest-scoring teams in the NHL. The first two games were blowouts, 6-0 and 6-1.
Arizona is next-to-last in the Western Conference but entered 3-1-1 in February.
"Our players weren't surprised, which is good," Hitchcock said. "They were ready for it."
The Coyotes, just 2-21-1 when trailing after two periods, held St. Louis without a shot the first half of the third period but got off only five shots themselves in that time.
The Blues had a 14-4 shots advantage in the second period, and Jaskin's backhander gave them the lead at 11:08. Jaskin chipped the puck off the boards past Keith Yandle in the defensive zone, then carried the puck to the opposite end.
Smith was late closing his pads, and the puck trickled through.
"That's probably one he would like to have back," Tippett said. "But he made some great saves to keep us in the game."
Arizona was outshot 10-0 before getting its first shot of the period with just under six minutes to go.
Gagner opened the scoring with his 10th goal on a 2-on-1 break, capitalizing when defenseman Chris Butler whiffed on a clearing effort.
Steen's 18th of the season tied it at 15:10 of the first. Steen tapped home a rebound after T.J. Oshie drove the net and Smith had difficulty handling a high backhander.
NOTES: Hitchcock earned his 692nd win, tying Dick Irvin Sr. for fourth on the career list. ... Blues D Kevin Shattenkirk is rehabbing from abdominal surgery in the Philadelphia area and is expected to rejoin the team soon. There's no timetable for the All-Star's return. ... F Jori Lehtera returned for St. Louis after missing six games with a concussion. ... Steen has three goals and seven assists in his last six games against Arizona. ... Gagner and Martin Erat, who earned the first assist on Arizona's early goal, had been scoreless the previous four games.