Kyle Brodziak of the St. Louis Blues fires a shot at Vancouver Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom as Scottie Upshall and defenders Troy Stecher (51) and Markus Granlund (60) look on during NHL action Saturday at Rogers Arena. (Darryl Dyck/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Boeser scores 20th goal, but Brodziak’s two-point night leads Blues over Canucks

Vancouver 1-7-1 in last nine games

VANCOUVER (CP) — The St. Louis Blues put a damper on Brock Boeser’s milestone night.

Kyle Brodziak scored the winner and added an assist as St. Louis snapped a three-game losing streak with Saturday’s 3-1 victory over the slumping Vancouver Canucks.

Patrik Berglund and Alex Steen, into an empty net, had the other goals for St. Louis (23-13-2), which got 30 saves from Jake Allen.

Boeser, with his team-leading 20th of the season, replied for Vancouver (15-17-5), which has lost four in a row (0-3-1), and is just 1-7-1 over its last nine.

The 20-year-old Boeser leads all NHL rookies in goals, and became the fastest Canucks rookie to reach the 20-goal mark, doing it in just his 34th game.

“It means a lot, but it’s obviously a lot better if we’re getting the results we want,” said Boeser, who has 24 goals in 43 career games after his cameo at the tail end of last season. ”It’s a tough stretch right now. This (Christmas) break will be nice to regroup.”

It took Pavel Bure 49 games to reach 20 goals in his rookie season with Vancouver in 1991-92. To put Boeser’s impressive start another way, Canucks No. 1 centre Bo Horvat — currently out with a broken foot — led the team with 20 goals in 81 games last season.

Boeser is also fifth in the NHL in goals so far in 2017-18, trailing just Nikita Kucherov (24), Alex Ovechkin (23), Anders Lee (22) and John Tavares (21).

“It’s impressive,” said Vancouver head coach Travis Green. ”His details away from the puck are a big part of why he’s having success.”

Jacob Markstrom stopped 31 shots for the Canucks, but allowed suspect goals to Berglund and Brodziak — a trend that’s plagued the club during its current slide.

“It’s tough when you lose a game … and you want both goals back,” said Markstrom. ”I’ve got to be better.”

The Blues, meanwhile, head into the break with a much-needed win after dropping three straight in regulation on a road trip through Western Canada.

“We knew we weren’t far off,” said St. Louis head coach Mike Yeo. ”It’s been a grind. I’m glad the guys get a little time to rest up physically and mentally.”

Tied 1-1 late in the second, Brodziak put the Blues ahead after firing a puck from the bottom of the face-off circle that somehow slipped past Markstrom shortside with 90 seconds left in the period for his sixth.

“He had a couple that he’d like to have back,” Green said of his goalie. “He’s played really well at times this year. He’s fighting that one goal here and there.”

Markstrom was stellar for most of the period otherwise, stopping both Steen and Paul Stastny on breakaways before again thwarting Steen with a nice save moments after his gaffe on Brodziak.

St. Louis hit the post three times in third period, while Boeser had two good chances off the rush that had Rogers Arena buzzing, but Allen was there to make the save both times — including the second one where the Blues netminder just got a piece of the puck with his left shoulder.

“Watching some tape, he’s got such a hard and good release that I don’t think it’s a reactionary save,” said Allen. “It’s a positional save. If you try to wave your glove at it, he’s probably going to beat you most of the time.

“There are guys like that in the league that you more or less have to be positioned, and he’s one of those guys. He’s got a bunch of goals for a reason. He’s got a great shot.”

The Canucks continued to push, but couldn’t find a way through before Steen scored into an empty net with 52.3 seconds left as St. Louis improved to 19-0-0 this season when leading after 40 minutes.

Down 1-0 after the first, Boeser evened things at 1:46 of the second on a slick passing play where Sam Gagner fed Thomas Vanek, who went back against the grain to find the wide-open phenom.

“(Vanek) is such a good playmaker,” said Boeser. ”I knew he was going to pass it to me there because I skate with him in the summers.

“I’ve just got to learn from him now and make some of those passes.”

The Blues opened the scoring at 11:17 of a sleepy first when Berglund wheeled out of the corner and let go a fluttering backhand from the high slot that beat Markstrom for his fifth.

“I just kind of fanned on it,” said Markstrom. ”It’s on me.”

Vancouver had another great opportunity later in the period, but Alex Biega found iron on a shot from the point, and Markus Granlund hit the other post on the rebound before Allen smothered the puck on the goal line.

“It’s a fine line between winning and losing,” said Green. “That was a hard-fought game.

“(It) probably could have gone either way, and we’re on the wrong side of it.”

Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Fish Are Food: A look at seafood sustainability

Conference in Campbell River to discuss food security from a marine perspective

Victoria police pilot e-tickets for its traffic division

Digitized tickets can now be paid for online

Test reveals fentanyl creep into south Island heroin supply

Fentanyl made up 20 per cent of sample recently analyzed in Sooke

VIU graphic design students propose less wasteful packaging in new exhibition

‘Unwrapped’ show is on display at the school’s View Gallery until Dec. 1

Trekking Vancouver Island’s ‘Secret Coast’

Island pair paddle the most remote corner of our coastline to collect and share its story

Teen with cancer whose viral video urged Canadians to vote has died, uncle tweets

Maddison Yetman had been looking forward to voting in her first federal election since junior high school

Cleanup in the works after tanker truck fire leads to oil spill in B.C.’s Peace region

The province said the majority of the spilled oil likely burned away in the fire.

BC VIEWS: Action needed on healthcare workplace violence

While we’ve been talking about it, the number of B.C. victims has only grown

Closing arguments begin in B.C. case launched in 2009 over private health care

Dr. Day said he illegally opened the Cambie Surgery Centre in 1996 in order to create more operating-room time

MacLean says “Coach’s Corner is no more” following Cherry’s dismissal from Hockey Night

Cherry had singled out new immigrants in for not honouring Canada’s veterans and fallen soldiers

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Princeton couple pays for dream vacation with 840,000 grocery store points

It’s easy if you know what you are doing, they say

Most Read