ST. LOUIS (AP) — Carter Hutton isn’t playing like a backup goalie for the St. Louis Blues. He’s playing like one of the game’s best.
Paul Stastny broke a third-period tie with his eighth goal of the season, Hutton continued his hot play in goal and St. Louis beat the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1 on Thursday night.
Alexander Steen also scored for the Blues, who won their third straight. Hutton made 32 saves, including two tough stops early in the third while the game was tied.
“Some of the saves he’s making, probably the last three games, he’s got six that should be in the top 10 this year,” Steen said. “He’s been outstanding for us.”
Hutton, making his third straight start in place of starter Jake Allen, earned his eighth win of the season and is 12-3 in his last 15 starts.
“If I play once every two weeks or three games in a row, it doesn’t matter to me,” Hutton said. “I just try to compete and go hard. No matter who’s in net we’re going to pull the weight around here.”
Erik Haula scored for Vegas, which had its NHL expansion record eight-game winning streak snapped. Marc-Andre Fleury made 37 saves but lost for the first time in six starts.
Stastny’s first goal in 12 games gave the Blues a 2-1 lead at 5:58 of the third period. Stastny poked in his own rebound after Fleury lost sight of it.
“When I shot it, I didn’t know where it went because it was more of a reaction,” Stastny said. “Sometimes you get all the good chances and it’s the ones like that that go in.”
Fleury didn’t realize the puck trickled past him and was sitting on the goal line when Stastny poked it in.
“I thought I had it and I think a teammate told me I had it too so. … it just squeaked by I’m sure,” Fleury said. “It’s disappointing when it’s that type of goal that goes in.”
Steen gave the Blues a 1-0 lead midway through the first period. It was his second goal in 23 games and his first non-empty-net goal since Nov. 16 at Edmonton.
The tally also tied Steen with Keith Tkachuk for eighth on the Blues’ career points list with 427.
Fleury kept Vegas within a goal by making several saves during a prolonged flurry by Steen’s line early in the second period.
Haula tied it on a one-timer from James Neal midway through the second. A check from former Blue David Perron created the turnover that led to the Vegas goal.
“We didn’t play a bad game, we just weren’t good enough to win it and we had some good chances at the end of the game,” Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant said. “Hutton made some real key saves.”
Hutton kept the game tied with a glove save on Neal early in the third period. He then ranged way out of the crease to stall Alex Tuch’s potential breakaway.
“If you hesitate you’re lost there,” Hutton said. “One of those I had a read at it. … I knew I had to beat him. I’m just glad he kind of slowed up instead of burying me.”
Hutton also stood tall late, making four saves in the game’s final minute as the Golden Knights made a final push with the extra attacker.
“I think Hutts was big for us,” Stastny said. “Made the initial stops, made the rebound stops and had a couple big stops on a couple scrambles. At the end there he was cool, calm and collected like he always is.”
NOTES: This was the first-ever meeting between the Blues and the Golden Knights at Scottrade Center. … The Golden Knights signed C Jonathan Marchessault to a six-year contract extension worth $30 million on Wednesday. … The Golden Knights scratched C Ryan Carpenter, L Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and D Brad Hunt. … The Blues scratched R Chris Thorburn, D Vince Dunn and C Oskar Sundqvist.
Golden Knights: Play at Chicago on Friday night.
Blues: Play at Philadelphia on Saturday.
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