ST. LOUIS (AP) — Brandon Saad scored twice and Jordan Binnington stopped 31 shots as the St. Louis Blues beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2 on Saturday night.
Jake Neighbors and Colton Parayko also scored for the Blues, who bounced back from a home loss to Arizona two nights earlier to win in regulation for the first time this season. Robert Thomas and Kasperi Kapanen, playing in their first game against their former team since being traded by Pittsburgh last season, each had two assists.
“After the last game we weren’t at our best and we wanted to come out with some tempo and some chances tonight and I think we did a good job moving the puck and creating some chances.” Saad said. “I thought we played pretty well all night.”
Binnington entered the game with a 0.92 goals-against average and .969 save percentage. He evened his career record against Pittsburgh to 3-3-1.
“I think the guys really, you know, kept their foot on the gas and continued to play the way we wanted to play the game,” Blues coach Craig Berube said. “Overall we had really good structure in our own end, kept it out for the most part, ate up a lot of pucks. I played good hockey.”
Evgeni Malkin and Radim Zohorna scored and Tristan Jarry made 17 saves for the Penguins, who lost both games on a short road trip.
“We had our chances” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “Give credit to St. Louis. They defended themselves strongly. They took advantage of the opportunities we gave them. You know, we gave them too many chances off the shot because we didn’t play with the intent that we have to play with in the offensive zone, whether with the puck or without it.”
The Blues took control by two goals 1:33 into the second half. The hosts made it 1-all for the Blues at 5:39 when Kapanen made a nifty move around a defender and passed to him for the layup.
“It’s one of those where you just look,” Neighbors said of Kapanen. “He put on a show there. Just leave your stick on the ice and go to the back post. That’s easy for me.
Parajko made it 3-1 at 7:12, seconds after Jarry robbed Alexei Toropchenko of a goal. Toropchenko collected the puck and fed it to Parayko, who unleashed a booming slap shot that shot through traffic.
Saad scored his second goal with 4:47 left in the third, right after Binnington made several saves as Pittsburgh pressed to get back into the game.
“He was huge for us,” Saad said of Binnington. “We’ve had some tight hockey games and we’re winning by one goal. Obviously he was a big part of it. He makes big saves, gives us confidence up front and then whatever goals we get we can feel pretty good.”
Zochorna, making his season debut, scored 74 seconds later to pull the Penguins back within two.
Saad’s first goal of the year gave the Blues a 1-0 lead midway through the first period. It was the first time the Blues scored first or even took the lead in a game this season, snapping a streak of 199 minutes, 33 seconds in either a draw or a loss. It was also the first time St. Louis had scored in the opening period in its first four games.
Malkin tied the game with just 3.7 seconds left in the first. Kris Letang’s clearing pass at the end of a penalty found the lane of Malkin’s stick as he left the box, popping him on a breakaway and allowing him to take the top right corner for his fourth goal in Pittsburgh’s first five games.
“We didn’t play hard enough and we didn’t play smart enough” Sullivan said. “We got what we deserved.”
Blues prospect Dalibor Dworski scored a goal in his Ontario Hockey League debut Friday night for Sudbury after being released from his Swedish Hockey League contract earlier in the week. The Blues selected Dvorsky at No. 10 in the first round of this year’s draft. … Penguins D Ryan Shea made his NHL debut.
Blues: LW Pavel Buchnevich (upper body) remains day-to-day. He participated in the morning skate for the first time since suffering the injury in the first period of last Saturday’s game against Seattle.
Penguins: Host Dallas on Tuesday night.
Blues: In Winnipeg on Tuesday night.
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