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Blues win third straight, cool off Ducks

The SportsXchange

ST. LOUIS -- Winger Chris Stewart and goalie Jake Allen continued to sizzle for the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night.

Stewart scored 45 seconds into overtime and Allen made 27 saves to help the Blues to a hard-fought 2-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks before a sellout crowd of 19,593 at Scottrade Center.

St. Louis won its third game in a row and fourth straight at home.

The Ducks, who had a five-game winning streak snapped, have at least one point in their last 10 games. Anaheim also has a point in 16 of its last 17, a franchise record for a 17-game stretch.

Kris Russell also scored for St. Louis, which is 9-1-2 in its last 12 home games against the Ducks.

Saku Koivu had the lone Anaheim goal, his eighth of the season.

Allen, a rookie who began the season in the minors, won his fifth consecutive game and improved to 8-1.

The Stewart-Allen duo is on fire. Stewart, who leads the team with 14 goals, has seven goals and seven assists in an eye-popping seven-game run.

Allen has stopped 129 of 138 shots in his 5-0 streak.

"I know it's been kind of a whirlwind," Allen said. "But that's my job, to stop the puck. I like it and it's enjoyment for me."

Allen has temporarily wrestled the No. 1 job from Jaroslav Halak, who had been slowed by a groin injury. The 22-year-old Allen made 28 saves in his first career shutout, a 3-0 win over Phoenix on Thursday.

He was even more impressive against the red-hot Ducks in the eyes of St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock.

"This is the best I've seen him play," Hitchcock said. "He made hard saves look routine."

Anaheim winger Bobby Ryan agreed.

"Anything he could see, he stopped," he said. "We had some pressure at times and he calmed it down."

Stewart, who had 15 goals in 79 games last season, has been equally impressive with his career-best run. He took a picture-perfect pass from Vladimir Sobotka and backhanded the puck behind goalie Jonas Hiller, who had a four-game winning streak snapped.

Sobotka made the play, picking off an errant pass from Teemu Selanne at the blue line to start a lengthy two-on-one rush. Sobotka waited patiently and faked Selanne and defenseman Cam Fowler to the ice before sliding the puck to the wide-open Stewart, who calmly converted on the backhand.

"(Sobotka) did all the work, his hockey sense is unbelievable," Stewart said. "I looked up, did a little fake and went to the backhand.

Stewart jumped for joy after his biggest goal of the season.

"Maybe I over-celebrated, but I was really excited," he said. "This was a great feeling -- a big two points."

Russell tied the score midway through the second period with a 40-foot slap shot that eluded Hiller. The power-play goal broke a 0-of-10 skid for the Blues, who entered the game making three of their previous 37 with the man-advantage. It was Russell's first goal since April 7, 2012.

Anaheim struck first on the goal by Koivu with 20 seconds left in the first period. Koivu broke a season-high, six-game scoreless drought by deflecting a shot from defenseman Bryan Allen. The drive nicked Koivu's jersey and zipped past Allen.

Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau thought his team played well enough to win.

"They got the break at the end," he said. "We made a mistake and they capitalized on it. It was a well-played game. It just didn't go our way."

NOTES: St. Louis defenseman Alex Pietrangelo missed the game with the flu. Ian Cole replaced him in the lineup. ... Despite a stellar record, Anaheim has been outscored 25-24 in the first period. ... Sobotka played in his 300th NHL game. ... The Ducks, who have won their last 11 home games, begin a five-game homestand by hosting San Jose on Monday. ... Anaheim right winger Corey Perry served the second game of a four-game suspension for a hit on Jason Zucker of Minnesota on Tuesday. ... The Ducks needed just 26 games to reach the 20-win plateau this season. It took them 52 games to hit that mark last year. ... St. Louis right winger Vladimir Tarasenko returned to the lineup after missing 10 games with a concussion. He picked up an assist on the Russell goal.
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