NEW YORK (AP) Ty Conklin made 27 saves for his 15th NHL shutout, Alexander Steen scored twice and the surging St. Louis Blues stifled yet another opponent in beating the New York Rangers 2-0 on Sunday night for their seventh straight win.
Conklin, playing in just his second game this season, looked every bit as good as No. 1 goalie Jaroslav Halak, who took the night off after beating Boston on Saturday in a shootout. St. Louis shut out the Rangers for the first time in 129 meetings.
It is the Blues’ longest winning streak since they ran off nine straight from Oct. 15 to Nov. 5, 2002. St. Louis has allowed only six goals during this run, and posted four shutouts – the previous three by Halak.
Conklin faced his biggest test in the third period after B.J. Crombeen received a five-minute major penalty for boarding Derek Stepan with 12:35 left. New York managed four shots during the long advantage, but couldn’t get a puck past the veteran Conklin.
This marked his first action since Oct. 16 at Dallas when he lost in a shootout. That was the only other game in which Halak didn’t play.
Steen added an empty-net goal with 3.9 seconds left to seal the win.
Martin Biron subbed for Rangers’ No. 1 goalie Henrik Lundqvist for only the third time 14 games and made 20 saves. He was solid, despite some adventures while playing the puck in traffic.
His only blemish came on Steen’s second goal of the season.
Steen took a pass from Brad Boyes during a 3-on-2 rush and snapped a shot from the high slot past Biron to make it 1-0 at 5:16 of the second period.
The Rangers thought they had taken a 1-0 lead with 1:56 left in the first period, but the goal was immediately waved off by an odd and confusing call by referee Bill McCreary.
Blues defenseman Nikita Nikitin reached up with a high stick as the puck sailed past him in the neutral zone, but never made contact with it. A delayed high-sticking call was indicated as play continued, and the puck bounced in on Conklin. Rangers forward Alex Frolov corralled it and scored, but it didn’t hold up.
St. Louis, which failed to score on back-to-back penalties against Ruslan Fedotenko, finished the period with a 14-8 edge in shots.
NOTES: Ottawa is the only team the Blues have never shut out. … Rangers RW Ryan Callahan returned to the lineup after missing one game because of neck soreness that resulted from a hit at Philadelphia on Thursday. … Nikitin made his NHL debut Saturday night in Boston. … Blues LW David Perron missed his second straight game because of headaches following an open-ice hit by San Jose’s Joe Thornton on Thursday. Perron is tied for the team lead with five goals. … Biron fell to 0-7-0-2 against St. Louis in 10 career appearances.
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