Rookie Binnington makes 28 saves, Blues top Canadiens 4-1
By DAVID SOLOMON
ST. LOUIS (AP) Jordan Binnington has played in 204 minor league games, plenty of time to wonder if he'd ever make an NHL start.
The long wait was worth it for the rookie St. Louis Blues goaltender.
Binnington made 28 saves and Oskar Sundqvist added a goal and an assist to lead the Blues to a 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.
Binnington improved to 2-0 after becoming the 35th goaltender in NHL history to record a shutout in his first career start on Monday at Philadelphia.
"He's been playing really well," Sundqvist said. "He got a lot of confidence after that win in Philadelphia, so hopefully he can just keep rolling."
Binnington said he doesn't deserve any special accolades for sparking his team.
"No more than when Sammy Blais scores," Binnington said. "When the young guys are working and playing hard, I think people always have a good reaction to that and get behind them."
Robert Thomas, Jay Bouwmeester and Blais also scored for St. Louis, which won for the second time in its last six home games.
Veteran Carey Price, meanwhile, allowed four goals on 30 shots to lose his third consecutive start.
"Basically, we gave it to them," Canadiens center Phillip Danault said. "We were flat-footed. We didn't use our speed, our strength, and they capitalized more than we did."
Thomas scored his fifth of the season on the power play 1:56 into the game when he pushed Ryan O'Reilly's rebound past Price. The Blues had scored on just one of their previous 20 power plays.
"That's a big goal in the first period on that first power play," Blues interim coach Craig Berube said. "I know that in the past here we get power plays in the first period and we don't score and we get frustrated and it affects our game."
Thomas left with an upper-body injury 8:39 into the first period and did not return.
Sundqvist buried a feed from O'Reilly for his eighth goal of the season to extend the St. Louis lead. He only had two goals in 70 career games prior to this season.
"His improvement I think started in the summertime with his training," Berube said. "He came into camp and looked like a faster player then, and it's just carried on."
Bouwmeester put the Blues ahead 3-0 when he skated in front of the defense and converted a feed from Robby Fabbri 6:04 into the second period.
Three minutes later, Brendan Gallagher spoiled Binnington's shutout bid when he scored his 17th goal of the season on a power play.
Montreal scored on just one of its five power plays despite having several good scoring chances.
"It's on us, the guys that are out there to go and execute," Gallagher said. "We have to understand we can't change what's happened earlier in the year. We're not going to be able to go back and fix it. We're all disappointed by it, but it's in the past."
Blais scored his first goal of the season 9:19 into the third period.
NOTES: Blues D Carl Gunnarsson recorded his 100th career assist on Sundqvist's goal. ... RW David Perron has registered at least one point in his last nine games. ... Canadiens D Karl Alzner skated in his first NHL game since Nov. 24. He had been a healthy scratch for seven games since being recalled from the Laval Rocket of the AHL.
Canadiens: Host Colorado on Saturday.
Blues: At Dallas Saturday to open a four-game trip.
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Updated January 11, 2019