That was certainly not the third period the Blues or their fans expected, but they came out of it generally unscathed. After opening the period with a beauty of a tap-in by Evgeny Grachev for his first NHL goal, the team’s focus slowly fell apart as the period progressed.
A little over a minute later, Eric Nystrom scored past a screened Jaroslav Halak. Roman Polak should be getting a fruit basket from Nystrom after the game:
The 4-2 lead seemed fairly safe for a while, though the Blues were playing sloppier and sloppier as the period progressed. Jamie Benn snagged the puck from Patrik Berglund as he was attempting to carry it into the Dallas zone. Benn found Ryder, who promptly flicked it past Halak to cut the lead to just one goal.
The Stars tried to mix it up a bit with the Blues, as this scrum between Barret Jackman and Steve Ott (complete with Kevin Shattenkirk and Brendan Morrow matching minors!) showed, but it wasn’t enough. The Blues were able to keep the Stars off of the scoreboard for the rest of the night, and David Perron unselfishly passed the puck to Chris Stewart for the empty net goal, Stewart’s second of the evening:
The Blues now have 46 points on the season, and are two points behind the Chicago Blackhawks for the top seed in the Western Conference if Chicago loses to the Blue Jackets tonight. Tomorrow the test gets tougher, as they fly to Detroit to re-introduce the Wings to a losing streak. It’s their first of two games at Detroit, with the other being the nearly-customary New Year’s Eve matchup. St. Louis has taken the first two games at home, and will need to take these two in order to secure a large lead over the perennial Western Conference favorites.