St. Louis Blues, Jake Allen shut down Dallas Stars

By Rob Rains, The Sports Xchange
St. Louis Blues' Vladimir Tarasenko of Russia takes a slap shot in the first period against the Dallas Stars at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on December 12, 2105. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
1 of 3 | St. Louis Blues' Vladimir Tarasenko of Russia takes a slap shot in the first period against the Dallas Stars at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on December 12, 2105. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

ST. LOUIS -- Jake Allen was well aware of how potent the Dallas offense has been this season coming into Saturday night's game against the St. Louis Blues.

The goalie welcomed the challenge of trying to stop the league-leading Stars, who scored three or more goals in 23 of their first 29 games while averaging almost 3 1/2 goals per game.


Allen and his teammates rose to the challenge. He stopped all 26 Dallas shots and handed the Stars their first shutout of the season in a 3-0 Blues victory, only the second loss in regulation for the Stars since Nov. 10.

Center David Backes scored one goal -- just two minutes into the game -- ssisted on one and also had a fighting penalty to complete the so-called Gordie Howe hat trick as the Blues put together one of their most complete games of the season.


"You play a team like that with their offense and they are going to scare us into playing the right way because if you don't play the right way with their firepower they'll put up crooked numbers on you and make you look stupid and embarrass you," Backes said.

Allen posted his fourth shutout of the season, turning aside 11 shots in the second period and 10 in the third, when the Stars could not break through despite having a five-on-three power-play for 1:18 late in the third period.

"You are not going to shut them down," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "They had their scoring chances. You've just got to make it hard on them and that's what we did in the first and third period, we at least made it hard for them. They're a dynamic team.

"Allen was exactly what we needed. Pretty much if you are going to beat Dallas your goalie is going to have to be your best player."

After Backes' early power-play goal, Allen was able to protect the 1-0 lead until the Blues were able to add two more goals in the third period. A pass from Backes set up right winger Vladimir Tarasenko for his 17th goal of the year and right winger Ryan Reaves scored his first of the season on a rebound.


"We didn't really buy into their track meet a ton," Allen said. "We did a good job of not giving them anything. They're the best team in the league for a reason. If you give them chances, they most likely are going to capitalize and tonight we did a good job of not giving them anything.

"You want to play the best I think to see where you are. It's more of a test to see how good your team is and how good you are individually and where you stand. We're not up to where they are in the standings, but we played tonight with them. We're only going to get better."

The Stars had picked up at least one point in their previous seven games, going 5-0-2, and had won their last four games in St. Louis during the last two seasons. But they couldn't find a way to beat Allen.

"He's a good goalie," said left winger Jamie Benn, who leads the league with 20 goals. "He just made some big saves. I thought his team blocked some pretty good shots for him, but he's a good goalie, he's going to make saves and we didn't make it hard enough on him tonight.


"He saw a lot of pucks and we definitely needed to score on the power play and didn't."

Stars coach Lindy Ruff thought the difference in the game was in the first period when St. Louis got the jump, outshooting Dallas 17-5 in the period.

"I thought we played a real solid game after that," Ruff said. "We had them on their heels, we hit a few posts and didn't find a way to get that goal to get us in that game. I thought we responded well."

NOTES: For the second season in a row, a Stars player was the first player in the league to score 20 goals. LW Jamie Benn scored his 20th goal into an empty net on Friday night. C Tyler Seguin was the first to reach that plateau last season. ... Saturday night's game was the first of five between the Blues and Stars this season. The two teams will play home-and-home games on Dec. 26-27. ... C Scott Gomez was a healthy scratch for the Blues for the third consecutive game. ... The Blues will host the Avalanche on Sunday night while the Stars are off until Tuesday night, when they host the Blue Jackets.


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