ST. LOUIS — Carter Hutton did all the important work in the third period of the Blues’ win Saturday night.
Hutton made 33 saves, including 15 in the final period when his teammates did not record a shot on goal, to help St. Louis beat the New York Rangers 3-2.
Coach Ken Hitchcock liked what he saw from his new backup goalie, brought into spell Jake Allen after St. Louis traded away Brian Elliott over the summer. Allen and Elliott formed an outstanding tandem for the Blues last season.
“The goalie was outstanding there in the third period,” Hitchcock said. “He won us the game, which was great. Whether it was three games in four nights or the injuries there that depleted us, we needed our goalie there and he came through for us.
“In the third period we were running on fumes and we needed our goalie.”
Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and an assist for St. Louis. Tarasenko has three goals in three games for the Blues after netting 40 last season.
St. Louis has begun the season with three straight wins for the fourth time. St. Louis also started 3-0-0 in 1969-70, 1993-94 and 2013-14.
Hutton got his first win and made numerous tough saves in his first game with St. Louis. He signed to a two-year, $2.25 million free agent contract on July 1.
Facing a barrage in the third period did not bother Hutton.
“You just battle,” Hutton said. “Just compete on everything. They got their chances and we were able to hold them off. You’re just in the moment. You know about the blood, sweat and tears that goes into this so you’re in the mindset to just keep competing.”
The Rangers outshot St. Louis 35-18, with New York’s Henrik Lundqvist making 15 saves.
“We created quite a few opportunities in the third and we should have been able to tie it up but their goaltender made the difference,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said.
The Blues scored quickly, taking a 1-0 lead just 1:13 into the game. Colton Parayko blocked a shot by J.T. Miller, then controlled the puck and fed Tarasenko at the blue line. His wrist shot from the low side of the left faceoff circle easily beat Lundqvist.
Tarasenko deflected attention from himself to Hutton.
“Our goalie played great. I’m happy with this win and for us to keep going,” Tarasenko said. “We see him in practice every day. We’re lucky to have two good goalies.”
Lundqvist called Tarasenko one of the league’s best.
“Obviously the way the game started, it was tough to see that guy (Tarasenko) come down on a breakaway,” Lundqvist said. “I think he’s one of the best in the league on the breakaway the way he shoots the puck. He’s so accurate and so hard. You would like to have a couple shots before you face that kind of breakaway.”
The Rangers tied it at 5:25 when Chris Kreider found a loose puck just outside the crease and knocked it past Hutton. It was Kreider’s second goal this season. He is the only Ranger who recorded at least 20 goals in each of the last two seasons.
Paul Stastny poked in a rebound of a shot by Robby Fabbri a 17:32, giving the Blues a 2-1 lead. It was the 100th point of Stastny’s career.
The Rangers went the last 11:40 of the first period without a shot on goal.
Each team scored in the second period.
A power-play goal gave St. Louis a 3-1 lead. Alex Pietrangelo got a pass from Stastny in the corner and blasted in a slap shot from the faceoff circle at 2:28 of the second period. Tarasenko also assisted on the goal.
New York was able to kill off four other St. Louis power-play opportunities. The Rangers were 0 for 2 on the power play.
“Today comes down to special teams. We had a couple late power-play chances and they get one on theirs and that’s the difference in a one-goal game,” New York captain Ryan McDonagh said.
Just 30 seconds later, the Rangers cut the lead to 3-2. With Scottie Upshall all over him, Mika Zibanejad scored on a backhander when Hutton failed to seal off space by the post.
“That was definitely not a good goal, right?” Hutton said. “That’s hockey. What’s done is done and I move on.”
The Blues had three players leave the game with upper body injuries. Center Kyle Brodziak left in the first period and center Jori Lehtera and defenseman Carl Gunnarsson both exited in the second period.
Hitchcock gave no further update on the injuries, saying more information would come Monday. The players have a day off Sunday.
New York defenseman Dan Girardi also left in the second period and did not return.
“He’s got a hip flexor and will know the severity tomorrow but at this time I would say he’s a little bit more than day to day,” Vigneault said.
NOTES: The Rangers were without Kevin Klein (back), who remains day to day. … The Blues were without Jaden Schwartz (elbow). Schwartz skated with the Blues for a second straight day Saturday but is still on the same recovery timeline of four weeks. … Allen was given the night off after starting 2-0-0 for the first time in his career. … The game was the first of two meetings this season and the only one in St. Louis. The Blues will play Nov. 1 in New York.
Rangers: Return home Monday to play against the San Jose Sharks.
Blues: Hit the road to play Tuesday at Vancouver against Canucks.