Blues coach Ken Hitchcock believes another shoe is out there, waiting. It wavered on Saturday night at Scottrade Center, but didn’t drop. Alexander Steen’s third-period goal sent the Blues toward a redeeming 4-2 victory in front of 17,936 patrons. Steen’s goal, with just under 14 minutes remaining, was his league-leading 17th. It came by way of a terrific pass from Roman Polak, a more unlikely offensive star in the game. Most importantly, it helped the Blues recover one mortifying minute in which they yielded consecutive shorthanded goals to turn a 2-0 lead into a 2-2 knot. “Big-time player, big goal,” Hitchcock said of Steen. Hitchcock’s Western Conference club is now 6-1 against the Eastern Conference this season. Since the 2010-11 season, the Blues are 30-8-5 against the East, the best inter-conference mark in the NHL. And it’s not just a Blues thing. The West overall was 79-34-13 against the East this season before Saturday’s slate. Hitchcock believes that disparity will end, sooner or later. “Everybody talks about that record, I don’t think that’s relevant,” Hitchcock said. “Because the way Chicago and Los Angeles play, just to keep up, you have to build your team a certain way. Has it led to a better record early for the West, yes. But the East is starting to catch up.” The Hurricanes caught up in astounding fashion, after the Blues had dominated the evening. Only the work of Hurricanes netminder Justin Peters left the home team nothing to show for a 11-3 shot advantage in the first. But Peters cracked with 10:35 to play in the second. Chris Stewart gained the blue line, waited for teammates, then sifted a pass to Polak. The raging bull fired a 27-footer past Peters to give the Blues a 1-0 lead. The goal was Polak’s third, one off his career-best pace of four in 2009-10. “It was a great play by Stewie,” Polak said. “I’m still a defensive defenseman. I haven’t seen the PP for three years and I don’t think I’m going to see it again for at least another three years.” Steen got an assist, extended his points streak to 13 games, longest by a Blue since Pierre Turgeon’s 15-game streak in 1999-2000. The Blues scored again on their next shot. Brenden Morrow gained possession behind Peters and the net and set a table for Backes, who blasted home his eighth goal. Last season, the Blues captain did not get his eighth goal until … well, he didn’t get an eighth goal. He finished the season with six.
Blues pull away in third to beat Hurricanes
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Nov 17