ST. LOUIS (AP) Kevin Hayes scored a pair of goals and added an assist to help the St. Louis Blues beat the New Jersey Devils 4-1 on Friday night.

Jake Neighbours and Robert Thomas also scored goals, and Jordan Binnington stopped 33 shots, including several from close range, for St. Louis, which had lost its previous two contests.

“Big game at home, back to back, a chance to get us moving in the right direction,” Binnington said. “That’s a good team over there. I think we made a lot of big plays. Guys stepped up and kind of trusted each other, trusted the system. All around, it’s a good victory.”

Curtis Lazar scored for the Devils, who lost center Jack Hughes to an upper-body injury early in the first period.

Hughes, who entered the game with an NHL-leading 15 assists and 20 points, left the game after awkwardly crashing into the boards after being slightly hooked by Blues defenseman Torey Krug. No penalty was called on the play.

“It’s tough," Lazar said. “I mean you look at the start he's had. I’m not going to lie, we were a little dejected when it happened. But, again, you've got to kind of turn the page when you realize he’s not coming back and say, ‘All right, next man up.’ ”

New Jersey was already playing without center Nico Hischier, who missed his third consecutive game with an upper-body injury.

Akira Schmid made 31 saves for the Devils, who had won three in a row.

"I thought Akira made some key saves to allow us to get back in the hockey game,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said.

Thomas scored an empty-net goal with nine seconds remaining after Hayes shot wide in an attempt for his third goal of the game.

Hayes scored his second goal of the game with 1:37 remaining after the Devils pulled Schmid.

Lazar scored his first goal of the season with 3:21 remaining in the second period to cut St. Louis’ lead to 2-1.

“Great second-effort goal around the front of the net,” Ruff said. “I thought that goal got us going, and we had a lot of good zone time after that.”

Hayes put St. Louis on top 2-0 when he pushed a rebound past Schmid for his first goal since being acquired by St. Louis this offseason.

“Definitely relieved," Hayes said. "I feel like I haven’t really got too many looks this season. I’ve been working on it, but it’s nice to actually see one go in. It felt good.”

Neighbours scored his second goal of the season when he beat Schmid from the slot on a feed from Sammy Blais 7:12 into the second period to give St. Louis a 1-0 lead.

“I thought we had a good night,” Neighbours said about himself and linemates Blais and Oskar Sundqvist. “We’re, you know, physical, on top of guys, played a lot in the offensive zone, and we’re skating pretty well and had some good chemistry. Obviously, if we can contribute offensively, that’s just a bonus.”


Devils: At Chicago Sunday night

Blues: Host Montreal Saturday night



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