NEW YORK — The St. Louis Blues recognize they've entered the new NHL season in a precarious position because of injuries to key players.
They're not letting that stop them from finding ways to win.
"Next man up is the mentality we have to have," coach Mike Yeo said after Carter Hutton made 16 of his 32 saves in the third period to help the Blues remain unbeaten with a 3-1 win Tuesday night against the New York Rangers.
Carl Gunnarsson and Brayden Schenn scored first-period goals for St. Louis, which improved to 4-0. Jaden Schwartz added an empty-netter with 1:47 left.
"The guys battled really hard," Yeo said. "Our veteran players have really raised their game and stepped up."
After the Rangers dropped to 1-3, left wing Rick Nash was asked if the team was concerned about its start to the season.
"There has to be," Nash said. "With all these home games early on, these are the games that when you get to March and April, that really mean something.
"There's definitely an urgency to fix this and start winning some games."
Trailing 2-1, the Rangers pressured an injury-depleted Blues squad in the third period, outshooting St. Louis 16-8.
New York outshot the Blues 32-23 overall.
"There's no doubt that in the first two periods we didn't generate a lot," New York coach Alain Vigneault said. "In the third I thought we brought a lot more energy and willpower. We spent a lot more time in their end and we finally got some pretty good looks but we weren't able to score."
Hutton, in his first start of the season, was a significant reason why the Rangers were stymied. His three biggest stops occurred in the third period, beginning with Michael Grabner's short-handed semi-breakaway, later followed by Jimmy Vesey's stuff-in attempt during a goalmouth scrum, and Pavel Buchnevich's try from the slot.
Buchnevich slammed his stick against the ice in frustration a moment after the whistle blew to stop play.
"I felt really comfortable," Hutton said. "In the third we hung on."
Even though the Rangers held an 11-7 advantage in shots, it was the Blues who went into the first intermission enjoying a 2-1 advantage. Gunnarsson opened the scoring at 15 seconds with his second of the season, a wide-open wrist shot from the slot.
Mika Zibanejad tied the game 2:07 later with his fifth of the season on the power play.
New York was credited with six of the nine shots on goal following Zibanejad's goal, but it was the Blues who went ahead on Schenn's second of the season at 13:30 when the center banked Paul Stastny's rebound off goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
The Blues visit the Florida Panthers on Thursday.