Blues rookie left winger Tyson Nash picked up where he left off in the preseason, playing a hard-driving, hard-hitting game and generally making a pest of himself.
He drew one penalty, on Phoenix veteran Rick Tocchet for cross-checking him in the face at 12:15 of the first period. Tocchet kept going after the pesky Nash, who never backed down.
"He didn't like me very much," Nash said with a smile.
Nash played on a line with Jamal Mayers, normally a right winger, at center and veteran Kelly Chase on right wing. The Energy Line, as coach Joel Quenneville calls it, was perhaps the Blues best of the night, causing havoc while creating scoring chances. Mayers had two shots on goal, and Chase and Nash each had one.
Chase fought former Blues farmhand Kevin Sawyer, an admirer of Chase and former Blues tough guy Tony Twist. Chase also took a minor penalty for plowing into Phoenix goaltender Mikhael Shtalenkov, even though a Phoenix defenseman helped steer him that way.
Blues center Michal Handzus didn't get off a shot on a second-period breakaway partly because of "bad ice," he said. "The puck was bouncing," he said, noting that a Phoenix defenseman was bearing down from behind. "He hooked me, so I was out of balance. I still had a free hand, but I couldn't hit the puck."
After failing to win his third consecutive opener, coach Joel Quenneville put in a pitch to start next season on the road.
"This is one of those games that you'd like to start on the road," he said. "For some reason, whether it's the home-ice jitters or the home team wanting to put on a show, it's easier for the visiting crew."
Quenneville suggested that the Blues might have been trying to be too fancy, particularly in failing to score on four power plays.
"Phoenix did a good job penalty killing, but we didn't generate enough pucks at the net," he said. "We should look to shoot more as opposed to making the pretty play."
Jyrki Lumme of Phoenix scored the game-winner on a power play at 2:49 of the third period.
Fans voiced their displeasure on several occasions with referees Richard Trottier and Kevin Maguire, but Quenneville declined to comment when asked if it looked as if they had the "jitters," like the Blues did. "I'm not going there," Quenneville said.