ST. LOUIS (AP) — Jake Allen and the Blues did everything they could to spoil former coach Ken Hitchcock’s return to St. Louis.
Allen made 38 saves and the Blues used three first-period goals to beat the Dallas Stars 4-2 in their home opener on Saturday night.
“We capitalized on our chances there,” Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson said of the first-period flurry. “I think Snake (Jake Allen) was good back there. He helped us out a ton, especially on their power play. He had a couple big saves in the second and third period. A lot of credit to Jake, but I think we played a pretty good game over 60 minutes.”
Gunnarsson, Joel Edmundson and Jaden Schwartz all scored in a five-minute span in the first, and Vladimir Tarasenko added a power-play goal in the third.
Allen was solid after making 29 saves in the Blues’ 5-4 overtime win in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.
“I feel good right now,” Allen said. “I feel like I’m practicing well and it’s translating into the games. Guys did a good job tonight. We started out strong. We had our ups and downs during the game. I think we’ll level out here. It’s still only the second game.”
John Klingberg and Mattias Janmark scored for Dallas. Kari Lehtonen made 17 saves.
“I thought we’d be better in our zone under pressure and that’s where I thought we did ourselves in,” Hitchcock said. “We had a great start to the game. The first 10 to 12 minutes was exactly what we wanted.”
Hitchcock coached the Blues for six seasons, going 248-124-41 before being fired last February. He was hired as the Stars coach in April.
The Blues honored Hitchcock with a tribute on the videoboard during the first period. Fans gave Hitchcock a standing ovation and Hitchcock responded by tapping his chest.
“I know this is a special place,” Hitchcock said. “You spend six years here and you’re in the playoffs every year. It’s pretty special. Obviously I had a great relationship with the people here so it was a fun place.”
Gunnarsson banked a shot off of defenseman Dan Hamhuis and past Lehtonen from behind the net with 10:10 left in the first, Gunnarsson’s first goal in 62 games dating to the 2015-16 season. Edmundson then scored from the left circle after a nice pass from Alex Pietrangelo.
Schwartz scored off a nice pass from Brayden Scheen with 5:10 left in the period.
Klingberg scored a power-play goal for the Stars, assisted by Alexander Radulov, 2:48 into the third period to make it 3-1.
Tarasenko scored his first this year with 11:30 remaining. Pietrangelo and Schenn assisted on Tarasenko’s goal, giving them each two assists on the night.
Janmark scored, assisted by Jason Spezza, with 6:49 left.
NOTES: The Stars went with Lehtonen in goal after using Ben Bishop on Friday. Bishop left that game early after being hit in the mask and cut by a shot. He went into concussion protocol, but Hitchcock said Saturday that Bishop was fine. He served as the backup to Lehtonen. … The Blues are without F Robby Fabbri (left knee, out for season), F Alexander Steen (left hand), D Jay Bouwmeester (left ankle), F Zach Sanford (left shoulder) and F Patrik Berglund (left shoulder).
St. Louis: At New York Islanders on Monday.
Dallas: At Detroit on Tuesday.
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