ST. LOUIS (AP) — A week ago, Jaroslav Halak couldn't wait to get off the ice and find a place to hide. He'd been no relief at all after replacing Brian Elliott in net in New Jersey and was embarrassed along with the rest of St. Louis Blues.
"I can speak for myself: I was hoping the game was over after the second period," Halak said.
The bad taste is all gone now.
Alexander Steen gave the Blues the early lead and Halak earned his fourth shutout of the season and was the game's first star in a 3-0 victory over the Devils on Tuesday night.
New Jersey had 23 shots, the same as it needed in a 7-1 rout at home last week, but, this time, had nothing to show for it.
"It was weird, going to New York and getting back and playing Jersey again," Halak said. "It was a good thing we got it over with and we didn't have to wait."
Brenden Morrow added a power-play goal midway through the third period and Maxim Lapierre scored into an empty net with 2:08 left. Patrik Berglund assisted on both third-period scores.
"I think the more we learn from those types of games the better, because that's never a good recipe when you're chasing games," Morrow said. "Good teams stay with their structure, stay with their system and let that roll over and get back into the game that way, and I think we learned our lesson there."
The Blues have won three straight and moved a point ahead of the Blackhawks, who played later at Calgary, for the Central Division lead.
St. Louis cleaned up on defense a week after getting whipped in New Jersey when Halak allowed four goals in 14 shots after relieving Elliott. Halak has started all three games since that setback, allowing a total of four goals.
He's 7-1-1 in his last nine starts with a 1.77 goals-against average and .940 save percentage.
The Devils mustered little offensively coming off a 7-3 loss to the Rangers at Yankee Stadium on Sunday. They were shut out for the sixth time, although this was the first time in 35 games.
"Well, we didn't have many chances to score, but they played great tight defense and we had nothing," said forward Jaromir Jagr, held to two shots. "We had chances but not 100 percent chances."
The Devils have the NHL's second-best power play but were 0 for 5 against Halak.