There are just some teams that certain players seem to step up their games against. The St. Louis Blues are one of those teams for Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny.
Playing in his hometown, Stastny had a goal and two assists on Saturday to help the Avs to a 4-0 victory over the Blues and their 50th win of the season.
|Paul Stastny |
Stastny also extended his point streak to six games, his longest of the season. He has two goals and seven assists during his current stretch.
"We wanted him to start the game, and Pauly had a solid game," Colorado head coach Patrick Roy said. "It means a lot to him to come here. At the same time he is a great leader for our team, and he has been performing well for us."
Stastny now has 22 goals and 35 assists this season, and he is one of five players on the Avalanche with 20 or more goals and 50 or more points. Colorado joins St. Louis as the only two teams to have five different 20-goal scorers and five different 50-point producers.
Despite being born in Quebec City, Canada while his father Peter was playing for the Nordiques during the 1985-86 season, Stastny spent much of his childhood in the St. Louis area after his hall-of-fame dad finished his career with the Blues in 1995.
Stastny has 11 goals and 19 assists in 24 career games against the Blues, one of the teams he has the most points against. His 30 points versus St. Louis is quite impressive considering the fact that he has played his career in a different division than his hometown squad until this season.
Saturday's game marked the fourth time in Stastny's career that he totaled three of more points in a game against the Blues, and he earned the player of the game helmet from his teammates because of it.
Stastny opened a three-goal second period for the Avalanche as he put in a rebound early in the stanza while the team was on a power play.
With Vladimir Sobotka in the box with cross checking and roughing penalties after getting tangled with Gabriel Landeskog following the first period buzzer, Stastny and the Avs struck 1:14 into the middle frame.
Nathan MacKinnon's shot from the circle caromed off goalie Ryan Miller and to Stastny at the left side, and the veteran forward wristed a shot into an open area of the net to give Colorado a 1-0 lead.
"The power play we scored in the second period was certainly important to us," Roy said.
Stastny's goal helped ignite a stretch of three goals in 9:11 for the Avalanche.
"That first period, we had a couple big kills, and then the second period we had a power play and we took advantage of it," Stastny said to NHL.com. "After that, I think it really kick-started our team."
Stastny earned an assist on Colorado's third tally of the second period at 10:25. Nick Holden fed the puck to the slot for Stastny, who snapped a shot that went off of Miller and was lying in the crease. Holden knocked the puck in to give the Avalanche a 3-0 lead.
The goal was reviewed to determine if Holden kicked the puck in, but it was upheld after a Blues player had also touched the puck.
Stastny's second helper came on the power play in the third period to put the Avs ahead at 4-0 with 4:05 remaining. After some good passing at the circles by Tyson Barrie and Landeskog, the puck made its way over to Stastny below the right circle. Stastny then made a quick feed to Ryan O'Reilly for an easy tap-in score at the front of the net.
While the Blues won the season series against the Avalanche at 3-1-0, Colorado has played well in its last two meetings. St. Louis won the first two games by scores of 7-3 and 4-1, but the Avs played a tight contest on March 8, losing 2-1 at home, before breaking out on Saturday.
"Every game we play against them has been better and better against them," Stastny said. "It's one of the teams we haven't beaten, so for us, it was kind of a big game."
Big games just happen to be Stastny's forte against St. Louis.