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Blues shut out Devils

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ST. LOUIS -- Nobody in the St. Louis Blues locker room used the word revenge, but they knew exactly what they wanted to do in Tuesday night's game against the New Jersey Devils.

Still smarting from a 7-1 loss at New Jersey a week ago, their worst loss of the season, the Blues were determined to show they were a much better team than the one that was on the ice that night.

Goalie Jaroslav Halak stopped 23 shots to earn his fourth shutout of the season, making a first-period goal from left wing Alexander Steen stand up until the middle of the third period before two late goals completed the Blues' 3-0 victory over the Devils.

The shutout extended Halak's franchise record to 20 career shutouts with the Blues and was the 29th of his NHL career, a far cry from when he relieved Brian Elliott in the first period against New Jersey last week and surrendered four goals himself.

"It was a really weird game when we played in New Jersey," Halak said. "Everything seemed like it went in and everything they touched seemed like it was a scoring chance. We just couldn't react. I can speak for myself. I was hoping the game was over after the second period. Tonight we knew we had to adjust."

The Blues scored just 3:35 into the first period when Steen buried a wrist shot from the slot past goalie Cory Schneider. It was the Blues' first shot on goal in the game. The goal, off assists from left wing Jaden Schwartz and center David Backes, was Steen's 27th of the season and the 100th in his career with the Blues.

Steen took the goal as a sign that this was going to be a better game.

"We just played our style of game," Steen said. "We got away from that in New Jersey. It was nice to play them quickly again. You can't dwell for weeks at a time on one game. Put that one in the garbage and keep going."

The goal came after the Devils failed to capitalize on a power-play opportunity when Blues defenseman Roman Polak was called for high-sticking just nine seconds into the game. It was the first of three New Jersey power plays the Blues were able to kill off in the game.

Center Vladimir Sobotka almost gave the Blues a 2-0 lead with just under five minutes to play in the second period but his shot on a 3-on-1 break hit the goal post and bounced away from the net.

Left wing Brenden Morrow did make it 2-0 with a power-play goal at 9:22 of the third period, deflecting a shot by defenseman Jay Bouwmeester while New Jersey defenseman Bryce Salvador was serving a minor tripping penalty.

An empty-net goal by center Maxim Lapierre with 2:08 to play made the final 3-0.

The win came after the Blues had rebounded from the loss with consecutive road wins over the New York Rangers and Islanders, and that was when coach Ken Hitchcock saw the response that he wanted to see.

"When you play two games in between, a week seems like a month," Hitchcock said. "For me the response wasn't so much the way we played against New Jersey; it was the way we played against the Rangers -- the right response."

The Devils, who were shut out for the sixth time this season but the first time since Nov. 15, knew what to expect from the Blues in this game.

"Obviously they're an elite team in this league and I thought we played a pretty solid road game," Schneider said. "We kind of took over in the second but obviously it wasn't good enough. We had a chance to at least get some points and we just didn't do it."

The lack of offense and generating just five shots on goal in the final period was the biggest concern for Devils coach Peter DeBoer.

"We've got to find a way to get points," DeBoer said. "We didn't score. We didn't generate enough offense."

NOTES: The game was the first the Devils had played in St. Louis since Nov. 20, 2010. There are only seven players left on the Blues' roster who played in that game. ... LW Magnus Paarjavi was back in the St. Louis lineup after being a healthy scratch in the team's last game on Saturday. ... The game was the first of three consecutive games on the road for the Devils, who play Thursday night in Dallas. ... The Blues have five games remaining before the Olympic break, and the only road contest in that stretch is Friday night at Carolina.
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