ST. LOUIS (AP)Nathan Walker scored his first career hat trick and fourth-string goaltender Charlie Lindgren made 29 saves, leading the St. Louis Blues to a 6-2 victory Thursday night over the Detroit Red Wings.
St. Louis coach Craig Berube was happy to see his newcomers make those big contributions.
”Very happy for him,” Berube said about Walker. ”He’s a hard-working guy. Happy for Lindgren. He did his job. The team played well, though. We were pretty solid all game.”
Down nine players due to injuries and COVID-19 issues, St. Louis has been scrambling.
The Blues recalled Walker from their AHL affiliate, the Springfield Thunderbirds, under emergency conditions Wednesday. The 27-year-old Walker, from Wales, had previously dressed in 25 NHL games, recording three goals and two assists.
Lindgren made his first start since March 7, 2020. He is fourth on the Blues’ depth chart. The 27-year-old saw his first NHL action in almost two calendar years on Tuesday against Florida and made three saves in 6:25 of relief duty.
”It’s pro hockey for you. I mean, you’re in Springfield one day and you’re up in Florida the next,” Lindgren said. ”That’s just how it is. It’s our job to always be ready and it’s been a heck of a year down in Springfield so far. I felt like that really helps me to bring some momentum up here and definitely gain some confidence from that and just want to keep on going because it’s a really fun team be a part of.”
Colton Parayko, Ivan Barbashev and Marco Scandella also scored for St. Louis.
Robby Fabbri had both Detroit goals against his former club.
”A win would have felt a lot better in this building against that team,” he said.
Walker scored twice in the first period, almost matching his career total coming into the game. He added his third goal in the final period.
”It was incredible. I guess that was it,” Walker said. ”To get three I think is pretty special, but I’m just glad we could get the two points.”
Walker scored at the 6:17 mark for a 1-0 lead. Brayden Schenn won a puck along the boards and Walker picked it up. His wrist shot from the top of the right circle went through the pads of goalie Alex Nedeljkovic.
Walker’s second goal came at 16:47. Niko Mikkola skated with the puck into the zone and dropped it back to Walker. Skating into the left circle, his wrist shot beat Nedeljkovic on his glove side.
Each team scored once in the second period.
The Red Wings cut the lead to 2-1 when Fabbri scored from the right circle at 4:17. St. Louis got it back when Parayko tapped in a loose puck behind Nedlejkovic, who couldn’t corral a shot by Mikkola, at 16:01.
Detroit switched to Thomas Greiss in net for the third period. Nedlejkovic stopped 16 of 18 shots.
”Last time we played St. Louis he stole the game,” coach Jeff Blashill said. ”So to me, it’s a night where their pucks just went in and it wasn’t necessarily anyone’s fault. We had some breakdowns, don’t get me wrong.”
Two goals in 38 seconds in the final period put the game out of reach. First, Walker deflected a shot by Torey Krug at 9:27 for his hat trick. St. Louis made it 5-1 on a goal by Barbashev at 10:11. Barbashev has six goals in his last seven games.
Detroit got its final goal when Fabbri scored at 15:27.
Scandella added an empty-netter to complete the scoring.
”I felt like we lost our game in the third,” Blashill said. ”We had a couple of big breakdowns in our end. But it wasn’t a game where I was disappointed with the effort.”
HOME SWEET HOME
The Blues have won six straight at home. It’s their longest such streak since taking nine in a row from Dec. 12, 2019, through Jan. 13, 2020. ”We’ve got to keep it going,” Berube said. ”We’re over with this game. Tomorrow it’s back to work. That’s it. Get ready for Montreal.”
Red Wings: Recalled D Brian Lashoff from the Grand Rapids Griffins. … Placed D Gustav Lindstrom on injured reserve, retroactive to Dec. 4.
Blues: Signed goaltender Jon Gillies to a one-year, two-way contract. Gillies, 27, has appeared in four AHL games overall this season, three with Providence and one with Lehigh Valley. The 6-foot-6, 223-pound New Hampshire native has made 12 career NHL appearances, going 4-5-1 with a 2.71 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage.
Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi and D Marc Staal remain out due to COVID-19 protocols.
Blues: G Jordan Binnington, D Justin Faulk and C Tyler Bozak are on the COVID-19 protocol list. They are the seventh, eighth and ninth players on the team to miss games this season for St. Louis under the NHL’s protocols. Bozak is due to come off the list Friday and could play Saturday. Binnington and Faulk come off on Sunday.
Red Wings D Gustav Lindstrom (lower-body injury) did not make the trip.
The Blues were without G Ville Husso (lower-body injury), D Jake Walman (upper-body injury), LW David Perron (upper-body injury), C Robert Thomas (lower-body injury), James Neal (upper-body injury) and Klim Kostin (upper-body injury). Perron took part in the morning skate.
The Red Wings play at Colorado on Friday.
The Blues host Montreal on Saturday.
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