ST. LOUIS — On what seemed like the 300th shot of the night for the Blues, Ryan O’Reilly lifted a backhand past a stubborn Antti Raanta. The puck bounced off the near post, off the back of Raanta … and into the net.
Finally, on their 43rd shot on goal of the game, the Blues had found the net. It was that kind of hockey, tense, tight, and getting late in the season.
O’Reilly’s 11th goal of the season was all the Blues needed in a 1-0 victory over Arizona before another sellout crowd of 18,096 at Enterprise Center.
The Blues (34-17-10) stayed two points ahead of Dallas in the Central Division standings, with 78 points. They play at Dallas Friday.
The Blues launched a season-high 48 shots at Raanta. Jordan Binnington faced only 14 shots but registered his second consecutive shutout, stopping Taylor Hall on an early breakaway.
The Blues had a David Perron power play called back by a successful offside challenge by Arizona — it was Perron who was offside about 12 seconds earlier. And they otherwise pummeled the Coyotes with 19 shots on goal (to four for Arizona).
But it remained a scoreless game after two periods Thursday at Enterprise Center in a key contest for the Blues.
In an evenly played opening period, Binnington was the difference, stopping Hall on a breakaway and then head-butting a possible rebound away as the puck rolled up his mask. That sequence came with 1:22 left in a scoreless first period.
The Blues started strong with an 8-1 edge in shots on goal, but then had to kill off 3 minutes 7 seconds worth of continual power play time by Arizona — with 53 seconds of 5-on-3 in the middle.
New Blue Marco Scandella was thrown right into the action, seeing early action on that penalty kill — 1 minute 45 seconds worth.
The Blues got in the PK predicament when Justin Faulk was sent off for holding, followed by Oskar Sundqvist 1:07 later. Carl Gunnarsson did some stellar work on the PK, which resulted in only two shots on goal for the Coyotes.
The Blues’ best chances were from Jordan Kyrou in the early minutes and Jaden Schwartz late. But Coyotes goalie Anti Raanta stopped Kyrou and Schwartz’s shot missed the net.
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