ST. LOUIS – Two quick third period goals, scored just 20 seconds apart, spark the St. Louis Blues to a 5-2 victory on Opening Night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Trenched in a 2-2 tie for nearly half of regulation, the Blues wasted no time reclaiming a lead and adding to it. Ivan Barbashev and Jake Neighbours scored just 20 seconds apart just past the midway point of the final frame.
“The building had so much energy,” said Neighbours. “Everyone was kind of on their feet. It was a high-energy moment. Getting two back-to-back there was pretty big for the team.”
Neighbours, now in his second NHL stint, and Barbashev, playing on a contract season, are handling the wings on a line centered by Brayden Schenn. After striking quickly for two third-period goals, Barbashev and Neighbours credit their lines for elevating their gameplay.”
“He had a really good game,” said Barbashev on Neighbours. “He deserved that goal, especially after just passing a couple of chances. He got a word with a goal, which was really good to see.”
“Schenner and Barbie are two pretty elite players in this league.” said Neighbours. “Their offensive talents kind of swept under the rug. They’re two very talented players and two players who can provide a lot of offense for this team.
Pavel Buchnevich gave the Blues early momentum with a powerplay goal on a one-timer less than five minutes into the game. Vladimir Tarasenko added on with a tally nearly only 64 seconds into the second period.
The Blue Jackets answered a 2-0 deficit with a pair of quick goals in 18 seconds, both scored before less than three minutes into the middle frame.
“Second period we got sloppy and let them back into the game,” said Blues head coach Craig Berube.
In the third period, the Blues returned the favor of two quick goals against the Blue Jackets. Vladimir Tarasenko added a late third-period goal, his second of the night. Jordan Binnington stopped 23 of 25 shots in the game.
“Our game was pretty good,” said head coach Craig Berube. “We had some good energy. We were on top of things for most part.”
“”It was nice,” said Barbashev. “It’s been weird sitting at home and seeing everyone else playing,” he notes after the Blues played their first game Saturday, starting by the time others have played three.”
With the victory, the e Blues are 33-20-1-2 (1 overtime loss, 2 ties) all time in home-opener games over 56 seasons. St. Louis has won eight of its last 11 home openers, riding a three-game winning streak and four-game point streak in such action.
“The fans in St. Louis make it a lot of fun for us,” said Colton Parayko. “It’s always fun to get a new [season] going and we’re looking forward to a good one,”
Up next, the Blues prepare for their first road trip of the season, a three-game set kicking off against the Seattle Kraken on Wednesday.