ST. LOUIS -- The magic period that has been Jordan Binnington's time as a starting goalie continued on Thursday night. After shutting out Philadelphia in his first NHL start, he didn't quite match that, but he came awfully close.
The up-and-down, and increasingly black-and-blue, Blues were up again as they beat Montreal, 4-1, at Enterprise Center in their last home game before heading out on the road for a week. This game may have required more work for Binnington than the Philadelphia game, but the result was every bit as satisfying for the Blues, who now seem to have a hot goalie to ride as they look to gain some ground before the All-Star break.
Binnington stopped 28 of 29 shots he faced and the only goal he gave up was on a pass far from him that was deflected in off a teammate.
If Binnington was an unlikely hero, so were the goal scorers: Robert Thomas, Oskar Sundqvist, Jay Bouwmeester and Sammy Blais.
Thomas, however, left the game with an upper-body injury shortly after his goal and did not return.
Prior to the game, interim coach Craig Berube had pointed to the team's struggles on early-game power plays as one of their problems at home. They were ceding momentum to the opponents by wasting early chances. They didn't do that on Thursday, with Thomas jamming in a rebound of a shot by Vladimir Tarasenko that Ryan O'Reilly also had a crack at. It was the fifth goal of the season for Thomas.
Thomas' game got complicated from there. He was knocked hard into the boards at a good rate of speed 81/2 minutes into the period, hitting with his shoulder and also possibly his head. He was slow to get up and then headed to the bench, where he took a seat, but at the next stoppage of play, he headed into the dressing room and did not return with what was described as an upper-body injury.
The Blues extended the lead to 2-0 on a short-handed goal by Sundqvist on a two-on-one break with Ryan O'Reilly. It was the eighth goal of the season for Sundqvist, who had all of one last season.
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Leads of 2-0 have not been kind to the Blues, but this time, they took it to 3-0 when Robby Fabbri set up Bouwmeester on a breakaway and Bouwmeester went to the top corner on Carey Price for his second goal of the season, matching his total for all of last season.
Binnington saw his shutout streak over two leagues end at 151 minutes on a power-play goal for Montreal that Montreal's Brendan Gallagher wasn't really shooting but had go in off of Alex Pietrangelo's skate and just past Binnington.
Binnington kept it 3-1 with a stop on Montreal's Victor Mete on a two-on-break, extending his left pad to make the save. With 10:41 to go in the period, Blais, a native son of Quebec who grew up a fan of Price, got his first goal of the season, beating Price on a breakaway that made it 4-1.
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