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game recap

Blues cruise to Game 3 win against Stars

St. Louis allows first goal, scores final six to grab 2-1 series lead

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and two assists, and Alexander Steen and David Backes each scored twice to lift the St. Louis Blues to a 6-1 victory against the Dallas Stars in Game 3 of the Western Conference Second Round series at Scottrade Center on Tuesday.

Troy Brouwer had a goal and assist, and Brian Elliott made 25 saves for the Blues, who lead the best-of-7 series 2-1. Game 4 is in St. Louis on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

It was the Blues' first win by more than a goal in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"This is the game that we wanted to play all the way through," Brouwer said. "Last game (a 4-3 overtime win for St. Louis), in the third period, we had a little bit of a letdown, sitting back on our heels a little bit too much, and we let them back into it. We made it more of a game than we wanted it to be, and tonight I felt we just kept pushing. We kept attacking, getting pucks forward, making sure that we weren't sitting back, weren't giving the chances to try to create offense off the transition.

"As a result, we were able to have some good zone time and keep the momentum in our favor."

Video: STL@DAL, Gm3: Brouwer beats defense to net goal

The Stars, who opened the scoring on a goal by Colton Sceviour, played each of their goalies. Antti Niemi started and allowed three goals on 12 shots before being pulled at 2:34 of the second period. Kari Lehtonen, who started Games 1 and 2, made 24 saves on 27 shots in relief.

"It hasn't been a goalie issue, really," Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski said. "We're giving up some big chances, at bad times, early in games. We're putting pucks in places we're not supposed to, and they've been a little harder on some battles and put them in the back of our net, so give them credit.

"But losing confidence in our goalies is not an issue. It's our game."

Video: DAL@STL, Gm3: Sceviour buries loose puck early

Dallas has scored first in each game in the series. Sceviour, who was moved up to Jason Spezza's line for Game 3, was the beneficiary of two fortuitous bounces before scoring at 4:44 of the first.

After Kevin Shattenkirk's clearing attempt didn't get out of the Blues zone, Spezza's backhand caromed off Shattenkirk in the slot. Blues defenseman Joel Edmundson blocked Sceviour's first shot attempt, but the puck came back to Sceviour, who beat a sprawled Elliott.

St. Louis scored the final six goals.

Video: DAL@STL, Gm3: Steen nets a pair in Game 3

Like they did in Game 2, the Blues answered back within a minute of the Stars' opening goal when Steen scored 57 seconds later to tie it 1-1. Troy Brouwer's forecheck on Alex Goligoski did enough to disrupt the play, and Paul Stastny and Steen worked a give-and-go before Steen's wrist shot from the right circle beat Niemi top shelf past his blocker.

Backes scored his first goal of the night on the Blues' first power play, redirecting Shattenkirk's straightaway slap shot at 16:10 of the first to give the Blues a 2-1 lead.

The Stars thought they tied it when defenseman Jason Demers appeared to score from the slot with 1:19 remaining in the first. The goal light came on, and referee Eric Furlatt pointed to the top of the net, but video review showed Demers' shot hit the cross bar.

Video: DAL@STL, Gm3: Backes nets two in Game 3 win for Blues

"The game changed on the non-goal," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We played pretty well and made a mistake in our own zone. Emotionally, we could have gone in tied and we went in up. That was a big swing in the momentum.

"Instead of being discouraged, I think we were in a different mental frame of mind. Inches or whatever, but that crossbar gave us a different attitude going into the second period."

The Blues, who were outscored 12-3 in the second period in nine previous games in the 2016 playoffs, outscored the Stars 3-0 on Tuesday.

Brouwer scored after a power move around Stars defenseman Kris Russell at 2:34, sending Niemi to the bench.

"I don't think ... they're not at the front of this one," Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said of his goalies.

"We should be better as a group, that's the bottom line," Stars captain Jamie Benn said.

Video: DAL@STL, Gm3: Tarasenko banks it off defender and in

Tarasenko scored his fifth of the 2016 postseason to make it 4-1 at 3:50 after Dallas defenseman John Klingberg turned it over in the Stars zone, and Steen scored his second of the game with 1:57 left on a wrist shot through Lehtonen's right arm.

Backes scored his second of the night and third in two games with 1:54 remaining and the teams playing at 4-on-4. He beat Lehtonen with a wrist shot high to the short side to make it 6-1.

"There's maybe a shift or two where they maybe came at us hard, but rather than sitting back, we made the push back and got pucks deep," Backes said. "... We occupied the offensive zone and kept the pressure on. It seemed to be something that guys bought into. We left the next line in a good position to have some success. Credit to everybody in the room that they bought in tonight. We had probably our most complete effort of the postseason."

Video: Steen, Backes lead Blues to 6-1 win in Game 3

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