Kyrou scores hat trick as Blues beat Blue Jackets 5-2
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Jordan Kyrou scored three goals, seldom-used goaltender Thomas Greiss stopped 38 shots and the St. Louis Blues cruised to a 5-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night.
Sammy Blais had a goal and two assists, Brandon Saad had a goal and an assist, and Brayden Schenn and Robert Thomas each had two assists for the Blues, who won their second straight after losing eight of nine.
“It feels great to string a couple of wins together,” Kyrou said. “I think we played a well-rounded game by everyone, and we want to keep doing that and build that foundation.”
Greiss, a 37-year-old journeyman, played in just his fourth game since Jan. 26 as starter Jordan Binnington got a rest day on the front end of a back-to-back.
“(Greiss) stood on his head there early in the third period,” Schenn said.
Patrik Laine scored his team-high 21st goal, Boone Jenner also scored and Michael Hutchinson, in his first start with the Blue Jackets, had 19 saves for the NHL’s worst team. Columbus has lost four straight.
Saad poked the puck past Hutchinson’s right leg in traffic to get the Blues on the board at 7:19 of the first period. Laine answered less than two minutes later with a one-timer off a perfect cross-ice pass from Johnny Gaudreau on a power play.
Kyrou tapped in a pass from Robert Thomas on a rush with about 6 1/2 minutes left in the first, and Blais’ tally put the Blues up 3-1 with 1:53 remaining in the period.
“We had 11 missed shots in the first period and five were prime scoring (opportunities), and we don’t hit the net, we don’t make him make a save, we don’t create a rebound or nothing,” Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen said. “So some missed opportunities there and just some blown coverage.”
Kyrou’s scored his second of the evening off a rebound with 7:45 left in the third period. Jenner got his 20th goal of the season for the Blue Jackets to make it a two-goal game with 4:05 left.
Kyrou completed his second career hat trick with empty-net goal with 1:17 left in the game, his team-leading 29th goal of the season.
Blais has four goals in 14 games since being traded back to the Blues from the New York Rangers Feb. 9. He had zero goals in 40 games with the Rangers. His three points in the game tied a career high for seven-year veteran, who played for the Blues for four seasons in 2017-20.
“Sammy had a great game. We got some bounces early,” Schenn said. “Sammy had a nice play to (assist) Saad early. Three points and a heck of showing and a good first period. Could have had more in the second.”
Hutchinson made his first start for the Blue Jackets since he was acquired from the Vegas Golden Knights in a trade shuffle March 2. Regular starter Elvis Merzlikins traveled to his native Latvia to be with his seriously ill grandmother. Merzlikins had split time this year with Joonas Korpisalo, the longtime Blue Jackets traded to Los Angeles before the deadline. Columbus recalled Daniil Tarasov on an emergency basis from Cleveland of the American Hockey League on Friday so Columbus could have another goalie on the bench.
ON THE BRIGHT SIDE
The Blue Jackets pushed their power-play goal streak to five games. Laine has a four-game goal streak and five-game point streak.
Blues: Host Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday night.
Blue Jackets: At San Jose on Tuesday.
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