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Shattenkirk scores in homecoming, gives Blues win

by Tal Pinchevsky

NEW YORK -- St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk grew up in the area idolizing the New York Rangers. But even he couldn't have scripted a more storybook ending to his first NHL game at Madison Square Garden.

The 22-year-old scored 3:09 into the third period to give St. Louis a 2-1 victory Thursday, exciting a group of about 70 friends and family who attended the game.

"A lot of people watching. You look around and you catch the eye of someone you know," Shattenkirk said. "It was a lot of fun knowing that you're playing on the road but you still have a lot of support in the stands."

Alexander Steen scored for the Blues before leaving the game with a lower-body injury, and Jaroslav Halak made 34 saves.

Rick Nash scored for the Rangers, and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 23 of 25 shots.

Shattenkirk's goal came nine seconds after Nash was called for slashing. Taking a pass from Alex Pietrangelo, Shattenkirk fired a one-timer from the right point that made its way through a maze of players and past Lundqvist to give the defenseman his eighth goal of the season.

"It was a set play. Once the puck was dropped back to me I knew that I had the lane to get it to the net," Shattenkirk said. "At that point as a defenseman you just have to throw it to the net and hope that something good happens. That's the way our power play works."

Born in New Rochelle, N.Y., the 2014 U.S. Olympic team member grew up a Rangers fan in nearby Connecticut. The game-winner resembled many of the goals scored by Shattenkirk's idol, former Rangers defenseman Brian Leetch.

"He was a very special player and I try to emulate him as best as I can," Shattenkirk said. "Those were areas he always shined in."

With the lead, the Blues put their defensive clamps on the Rangers, holding New York to four shots over the next 12 minutes. The Rangers got a chance to tie the game when Blues defenseman Barrett Jackman was called for cross-checking at 12:31, but they failed to get a shot and finished 0-for-3 on the power play with one shot.

"For the first time in a long time I thought our power play let us down. It didn't make plays," forward Brad Richards said. "Just not enough hounding the puck. We played a real good hockey team, and they score on the power play, we don't."

New York enjoyed its best stretch of the game when Nash tied it with 1:43 remaining in the second period. Derek Stepan recovered the puck behind the St. Louis net and drifted toward the corner before finding Nash in stride at the left circle. His one-timer beat Halak low to the far side and gave him 17 goals on the season, six in a current four-game streak.

The Rangers pushed hard for the go-ahead goal, eventually drawing an Ian Cole penalty for delay of game with three seconds left in the second after the Blues defenseman closed a hand on the puck.

"They took it to us. They had some chances, they scored the goal, they got the power play at the end of the second period," Halak said. "We just had to make sure that when we come out for the third period we play a better game and kill the penalty."

Steen scored 8:38 into the game off a feed from Jaden Schwartz. After taking a short pass from David Backes in the left corner, Schwartz fired a pass toward Steen at the Rangers crease. Steen was unable to get the pass with his stick, but the puck ricocheted off his right skate before bouncing off Lundqvist's blocker into the net for Steen's 26th of the season. Video review determined Steen made no distinct kicking motion and he was credited with his second goal in four games since returning from a concussion that forced him to miss almost a month.

Steen did not come out for the third period after falling awkwardly into the boards following a second-period hit from Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi. Steen is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

"Anytime you lose a guy like Alex Steen it's tough. He's been our guy this year," Shattenkirk said. "We did a great job last time he went out of the lineup. Hopefully it's not too long. We'll have to wait and see."

The Rangers got eight of the next 10 shots after Steen's goal. Playing 4-on-4, New York had one of its better chances to tie the game with 8:57 remaining in the first period after Cole's weak clearing attempt from behind his net slid directly to Girardi at the point. Girardi fired a hard shot Halak stopped with his right pad. Chris Kreider had another quality look 3:14 later when he sped down the left wing, but a hard wrist shot was stopped by Halak before caroming off the outside of the left post.

"I thought we did a pretty good job," Rangers defenseman Marc Staal said. "We had some times in the game where we had a lot of momentum and they were turning it over."

After getting 28 shots through two periods, the Rangers were held to seven in the third.

"It really could not have gone any better," Shattenkirk said. "I'm really happy with the way the night went."

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