VANCOUVER, British Columbia – After scoring twice on 11 occasions in his NHL career, Jordan Kerro finally earned his first career hat-trick in Monday’s 5-1 Blues win over the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena.
The Blues had a commemorative CD ready for their social media moment with Kyrou, but the photo was never taken. At least not in the visitors’ locker room, because Kyrou was being treated by the Blues’ medical staff after the match. As a result, it was not available to the media.
He was hit in the glass by Vancouver defenseman Kyle Burrows with 1:31 left in the game, and was held to the side of his head afterward on the bench.
Nathan Walker attempted to fight off Burrows in the final seconds of the match, but the referee’s crew headed by referees Frederic L’Equiyer and Ghislaine Hébert separated the two before any punches could be thrown. And so the match ended.
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“One of our guys got beat up, which I don’t think we like very much,” Walker said, referring to Kyro. “I think no matter what time the game is, I’m going to try to do my part and all that. At the end of the day, that’s just part of the game. I just didn’t like it.”
In the frantic whirl of post-game activity in Rogers’ locker room area, nearly all of the night’s media sessions concluded before it became known that Kyrou was undergoing treatment. There has been some uncertainty about Kyrou’s availability for Tuesday’s game in Seattle.
As it was, the Blues (16-15-1) moved above . 500 for the first time since Thanksgiving weekend on Saturday, when they rallied from a 3-0 and 4-1 deficit to defeat Florida 5-4 in overtime.
In this up-and-down season, they now have four straight wins and have at least a point in five straight matches.
“I think everyone was doing their job,” said coach Craig Berube. “We played our game for the most part. We stuck with it and at the end we got two goals and we got some momentum from that.
“But (Noel) Aciari’s line was excellent in the game and the ‘walk’ had a lot of aim, so that line was really good. I thought for the most part we did the right things with the puck. We have some turnovers that weren’t necessary – we didn’t need to.” do them. But for the most part, we’ve done good things with the tweaks.”
It was a goalless match until Kero’s first goal midway through the second half. Two minutes later it was 1-1 when Ilya Mikheev tapped St. Louis’ turnover for 10The tenth season goal.
After just 38 seconds, Walker picked a good time to score his first goal of the season – it was his 19th.The tenth Game – Taking a pass from Nick Leddy outside Blueline and skating it to beat Spencer Martin, who was playing against the Blues for the first time in his career. As it turned out, it was a winning goal.
“He is a hardworking man,” said Berubi. “He gives you his all every night, so it was good to have him. Maybe he can shine like he did last year when he ended up scoring eight goals – a bunch of them were match winners. He’s an effortless and competitive guy.”
Walker had scored eight goals in just 30 games last season, and two of them were match winners. But he’s been a little frustrated by his lack of scoring success this year, and has been in and out of the squad since late October, playing just 10 games since Oct. 29 before Monday.
“It definitely feels good, the more offensively you can attack,” Walker said. It’s a nice feeling. I’m glad we got a win and we can keep this thing going. I had some open ice on the river side and “Ledds” made a great head-to-head game. I just decided to grab it and rip it up a bit.”
Robert Thomas’s power play goal with only 1:10 remaining in the second period put them up 3-1 Blues and gave them eight goals for the season and four in their last seven games.
Kyrou then sealed the deal by scoring twice in the third period – first on a powerhouse goal just 67 seconds into the period, and then on an even-powered goal at the 9:19 mark. All three goals came from one of Kero’s favorite spots on the ice – in or around the showdown circles. A fatal wrist shot.
Elite scorers are often slashers, and for Keiro it was his sixth goal in three matches – all played in Western Canada. No Blues player had ever done this in a three-game swing across Alberta and British Columbia. Brett Hull in 1991 and Brad Boys in 2008 each scored five goals.
“He’s been playing really good hockey for quite some time,” Berube said of Kyro. “I mean, the goals will come eventually. He’s a very good player. Now he’s capitalizing on that, but his work ethic has been there all year in my opinion.”
Keiro’s third goal of the night gave him his 16th of the season. He had 13 goals at the same point last season, when he played the NHL All-Star Game.
Blues fans travel basically everywhere in the NHL, and five caps were thrown on the ice after Kyrou scored the hat-trick. The sixth did not make it above the glass. One of the hats that made it onto the ice belonged to DJ Malone of Fenton. He went – for lack of a better term – to Rogers’ hat retrieval area, but it wasn’t there.
So Kyrou’s night was special, at least before the Burroughs hit, and so were the Blues’ special teams. They scored in two of three power play games, only the second game all season in which they achieved as many as two power play goals. And their penalty unit canceled all four of Vancouver’s power play (13-15-3).
“The PK was really good,” said Berubi. “Penner (Jordan Bennington) was really good at it. He scored a couple power plays. So that’s the difference in the game.”
Seldom-punished minors in the opener at 5:08, Colton Parayko only conceded the first 20 seconds, but Ball set the tone by keeping the ball out of the net on both kills.
“Two big kills and then we went out there and played well,” Berubi said. “And that’s what it is then.”