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National Hockey League
St. Louis 5, Toronto 1
When: 9:00 PM ET, Thursday, February 2, 2017
Where: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri
Referees: Mike Leggo, Dan O'Rourke
Linesmen: Jonny Murray, Pierre Racicot
Attendance: 19258

ST. LOUIS -- In all his years in the NHL, Paul Stastny had never experienced a mid-season coaching change until the St. Louis Blues fired Ken Hitchcock on Wednesday and replaced him with Mike Yeo.

That was one of the reasons Stastny didn't really know what to expect on Thursday night when the Blues played their first game under Yeo, hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The move provided an immediate return, however, as the Blues -- led by Stastny's two goals -- defeated the Maple Leafs 5-1 after losing five of their previous six games.

"It's different," Stastny said. "He made a good point yesterday. We all felt terrible and took it on ourselves and knew we were partly to blame, everything together. Sometimes someone is the fall guy. But after that, we had to focus on what we have to do to get better.

"Sometimes change is good. Sometimes you get too complacent, just the way we prepare to everything it will be a little different. It brings that urgency back."

Yeo, hired by the Blues over the summer as an associate coach with the expectation that he would become the coach next season when Hitchcock retired, saw the Blues fall behind 1-0 on Mitchell Marner's first period goal.

The Blues responded with a goal by Alexander Steen to tie the game late in the first period, then scored three times in the second period to take control of the game.

Stastny and Vladimir Tarasenko scored 35 seconds apart before Colton Parayko added a power-play goal to make it a 4-1 game. The three-goal flurry came in a 4:35 span.

Stastny scored the fifth goal and his second of the night in the third period.

The win was the most important aspect of the night for Yeo.

"There was a lot to like about the game," Yeo said. "When something like this happens quite often there is a jolt to the team. Obviously, it gives everybody a chance to dig in and look at themselves and figure out what they can do better, and we got that tonight.

"Part of the message for us is that we've done a lot of good things in the past, we've got a lot of good players here, we don't need any heroes but we need everybody to go out and do a lot of the little things well and we saw that tonight."

Jake Allen had his best game in a month in goal, stopping 26 of 27 shots as he won for the first time since the Winter Classic on Jan. 2.

The loss was the third in a row for the Maple Leafs and their fifth in the last seven games.

"We had a good 10 minutes in the first period and after that they were just better than us and they were faster and more determined, executed better, were on top of us and we weren't good enough," said Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock. "We didn't have enough players being good enough. The bottom line is we didn't get anything going. We were playing good and we let it slip away."

The Maple Leafs' James Van Riemsdyk was not surprised at the intensity displayed by the Blues because of the coaching change, but he was disappointed his team was not able to match that performance.

"Whenever that kind of event like that happens, obviously, it's kind of a gut check time for everyone, it's just one of those things," Van Riemsdyk said. "Everyone's kind of probably on their toes and it's kind of a fresh start for everyone so I'm for sure that kind of brings out the best of guys."

Yeo got the puck from the game as a memento of the win -- as well as a little friendly criticism.

"The guys criticized my tie," Yeo said. "I thought it was pretty good, but apparently, it's not."

NOTES: The Blues retired jersey No. 5 in honor of former defenseman Bob Plager in a pregame ceremony. Plager was a member of the first Blues team in 1967 and stayed through 1978 before moving into the front office. It is the seventh jersey number retired by the franchise. ... Mike Yeo kept the same lineup from the Blues' previous game, his first as the team's head coach. D Robert Bortuzzo and RW Dmitrij Jaskin were healthy scratches. ... D Morgan Rielly returned to the Toronto lineup after missing six games with an ankle injury. Also returning for Toronto was C Ben Smith, who had missed the last 18 games because of a hand injury. ... The Blues conclude a three-game homestand with Saturday night's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Maple Leafs play in Boston on Saturday night, the fifth stop on a six-game trip that began before the All-Star break.
Top Game Performances
 
Toronto   St. Louis
Mitchell Marner 1 Points Paul Stastny 3
Mitchell Marner 1 Goals Paul Stastny 2
Tyler Bozak 1 Assists Colton Parayko 2
N/A Power Play Goals Colton Parayko 1
N/A Short Handed Goals N/A
Frederik Andersen .839 Save Percentage Jake Allen .963
Frederik Andersen 26 Saves Jake Allen 26
Team Stats Summary
 
Team Shots Goals Power Play Penalty Kill Penalty Mins Face Offs Won
Toronto 27 1 0-3 1-2 6 29
St. Louis 31 5 1-2 3-3 8 35
Upcoming Games
  • St. Louis will play their next game at home against Pittsburgh. The Blues have a W/L % of .400 after a win and .577 after a loss.
  • Toronto will play their next game on the road against Boston. The Maple Leafs have a W/L % of .478 after a win and .462 after a loss.