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game recap

Mike Yeo wins debut as Blues coach

St. Louis scores three goals in second period to defeat Maple Leafs

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- Mike Yeo happily got the game puck but the tie the new St. Louis Blues coach wore received the most attention from his players.

"The guys criticized my tie," Yeo said after the Blues defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-1 at Scottrade Center on Thursday in Yeo's debut as coach. "I thought it was pretty good, but apparently it's not. According to them I shouldn't [wear it again]."

What was good, however, was the effort from the Blues (25-21-5), who retired the No. 5 jersey of Bob Plager prior to the game. They scored three goals in the second period and won for the second time in seven games.


WATCH: All Maple Leafs vs. Blues highlights


Yeo, who replaced the fired Ken Hitchcock on Wednesday, won for the first time since Jan. 21, 2016, a 3-0 victory for the Minnesota Wild at the Los Angeles Kings.

"Obviously pretty happy, good start," Yeo said. "A lot to like about the game, and obviously some areas where we were a little bit sketchy at the beginning of the game and Jake [Allen] held us in there and came out strong allowed us to find our game. I thought the second period really in a lot of ways [is] the way our game should look."

St. Louis got two goals and one assist from Paul Stastny, one goal and two assists from Colton Parayko and a goal and an assist from Alexander Steen. Vladimir Tarasenko scored and Jake Allen made 26 saves for his first win since defeating the Chicago Blackhawks at the 2017 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic on Jan. 2.

Video: TOR@STL: Steen pots wrister five-hole through traffic

"We have a new coach and new kind of sense of urgency, kind of new life kicked in us," Stastny said. "We wanted to just compete out there. If we would have lost, I think we just wanted to have a better attitude than in the past. So you wanted to get that win. We wanted to get that win for [Yeo] and it's jersey retirement night. Those come around once maybe every 10 years if you're lucky. Somewhere in the back of your mind, if you get the win, you wanted to get five goals for something the Plager family will always remember."

The Maple Leafs (23-17-9) lost their third straight on a season-long six-game road trip. Mitchell Marner scored and Frederik Andersen made 26 saves.

"I thought we had a good 10 minutes of the first period and after that they were just better than us and they were faster and more determined," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. "They executed better, were on top of us and we weren't good enough. We didn't have enough players being good enough. Bottom line is we didn't get anything going."

With the score 1-1 in the second period, the Blues got goals from Stastny and Tarasenko 35 seconds apart. Stastny scored at 6:27 and Tarasenko at 7:02.

Parayko's power-play goal at 11:02 put St. Louis ahead 4-1.

Stastny's rebound goal at 12:28 of the third made it 5-1.

Marner put the Maple Leafs ahead 1-0 at 14:22 of the first, pouncing on a loose puck in the low slot.

Steen tied it at 17:58.


Goal of the game

Tarasenko cut around Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly and beat Andersen with a wrist shot high on the short side.

Video: TOR@STL: Tarasenko buries a wrister from the slot


Save of the game

Andersen kept the game scoreless when he denied Blues forward David Perron on a breakaway at 8:03 of the first period.

Video: TOR@STL: Andersen stones Perron's breakaway bid


Highlight of the game

Steen and Stastny worked a perfect pass play from behind the net to the slot for Stastny's goal that made it 2-1.

Video: TOR@STL: Stastny one-times home a feed from Steen


Unsung performance of the game

Perron created space for linemates Steen and Stastny, who combined for five points. Perron had three shots, three blocks and was a plus-3.


They said it

"Obviously [Wednesday] was a tough day for us. ... Obviously we want to win games as fast as possible and we want to win as many as fast as possible, so tonight was a good place to start, but there's a lot of work to be done, for sure." -- Blues defenseman Colton Parayko 


"Whenever an event like that happens it's gut-check time for everyone, a fresh start for everyone. It brings out the best in guys." -- Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk on the Blues coaching change


Need to know

Stastny's second goal was his 200th in the NHL. ... Rielly returned after missing six games with an ankle injury. ... Steen has 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in the past 16 games. ... The Blues top line of Steen, Stastny and Perron was a combined plus-9.


What's next 

Maple Leafs: At the Boston Bruins on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CBC, CITY, NESN, NHL.TV)

Blues: Host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; FS-MW, ROOT, NHL.TV)

Video: Stastny's two-goal night leads Blues past Leafs

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