Blues blank Wild
ST. LOUIS — Alexander Steen had gone four games without scoring for the St. Louis Blues, which the left winger decided was long enough.
Steen, who had vaulted to the top of NHL scorers with 17 goals in the first 18 games, ended his mini-slump with two goals in the Blues’ 3-0 win Monday night over the Minnesota Wild.
Steen’s 18th goal, midway through the first period, helped the Blues win their fourth consecutive game and improved their league-leading goal differential to plus-32. His second goal came on a shot into an empty net. Steen is now one goal behind Washington’s Alex Ovechkin for the league lead.
Doing his part to improve the Blues’ goal differential was goalie Jaroslav Halak, who recorded his second shutout of the season while stopping all 22 Minnesota shots. It was the first time this season the Wild was shut out.
Halak had to stop only 10 shots through the first two periods — four in the first period and six in the second — before stopping 12 in the third. The Wild had three power-play chances, one in the second period and two in the third, but they could not get the puck past Halak.
The Blues scored the only goal they would need just 1:20 into the game when left wing Vladimir Sobotka knocked in a rebound of a shot by defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo, skating his first shift this season.
Steen followed with his goal at 13:38 of the period when he also knocked a rebound past Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom.
The Blues did not have a shot on goal in the third period until Steen scored into the empty net with 1:22 left.
The closest the Wild came to scoring was when defenseman Zach Parise deflected a shot past Halak just 30 seconds into the game, but it was ruled he had hit the puck with a high stick. After a video review, the ruling on the ice was upheld.
Notes: Blues RW Ryan Reaves underwent surgery Monday on the right hand he broke in a fight during Saturday night’s game. He was placed on injured reserve and will be re-evaluated in six weeks. ... St. Louis D Kevin Shattenkirk missed his first game of the season suffering from the flu. He was replaced in the lineup by D Carlo Colaiacovo, playing his first game since signing with the Blues on Nov. 14. ... LW Mike Rupp played his first game for the Wild after missing the first 24 games because of a lower-body injury. ... Monday night’s game began a stretch in which the Wild will play 10 of 12 games against Western Conference teams, including Wednesday night’s home matchup against Phoenix. ... The Blues hit the road on Wednesday night to open a three-game trip in Colorado against the Avalanche.