LOS ANGELES • In his dreams, Mackenzie MacEachern’s first NHL goal went off the crossbar, down and in.
In reality, it slid slowly across the goal line. It didn’t matter; he’ll take it.
“Growing up, you play it in your head or you’re playing street hockey with your buddies and you re-enact what you think will happen if you were to get your first goal,” MacEachern said Monday after the Blues lost to the Kings 4-3. “It’s a dream to go bar-down and have the cool goal, but the reality hits and that’s probably not my arsenal. I’m just going to bang a couple home here and there and I was fortunate enough for it to go in.”
The goal came just past the halfway mark of the first period and put the Blues up 1-0. On a faceoff in the Kings’ end, Jordan Nolan, stepping in for Ivan Barbashev, who was kicked out of the circle, won the draw. Barbashev got the puck out of the corner and to Vince Dunn at the point. His shot was blocked by goalie Jonathan Quick, but the rebound fell to MacEachern in the crease, who with a dive knocked the puck in.
“I thought I was all alone and then I felt the stick on me,” he said. “I don’t know if I was in the moment, or the puck was actually going that slow into the net, but it crossed the goal line, so it was awesome. … I asked people, was it that slow or was I just living in the moment? They said it was that slow. I was fortunate enough the goalie didn’t get over and stop it. It was an awesome feeling for sure.”
The goal came in MacEachern’s fifth NHL game and, while he’s been playing on the fourth line, interim coach Craig Berube has been giving MacEachern more ice time than a more heralded rookie, Jordan Kyrou. (Kyrou played just 4:55 on Monday.)
“His skating is really good,” Berube said, “he works hard, he’s competitive and he’s physical. That’s his game.”
The only thing missing from MacEachern’s first goal was a win.
“It was awesome,” he said. “Getting the first NHL game is a huge dream. Getting the first NHL goal is an even bigger dream, so it’s awesome. But we’re in a winning business, so it was tough not to get the win.”
Jordan Binnington got the start in goal for the Blues, his sixth in the past nine games. It also was his first loss, as the 4-3 defeat — the first time he’s allowed more than two goals in a game — dropped his record to 4-1-1.
On most of the goals, Binnington was helpless to do much about them as turnovers led to quick reversals that left the Kings with ample stretches of net to shoot at. Still, he felt he should have done better.
“You always have a chance,” he said. “You want to be there to make the big saves for your team. I’m not happy with the outcome tonight.
“I was a little frustrated after that second goal (a power-play shot from defenseman Drew Doughty). I felt like I should have made that save. From there, we battled. The penalty-killers were great, and I think we used that as energy and we responded, but it’s not the outcome we wanted.”
Binnington faced 29 shots, and the two goals he allowed in the second period were the first time as a starter that he had allowed more than one goal in a period.
Tyler Bozak (concussion) and Robert Thomas (shoulder) both skated Monday morning, but Berube said there was no update on their status or whether they might be able to play Wednesday against Anaheim. “They all did well,” Berube said. “We’ll know more tomorrow if they’re available for the Anaheim game. Right now, I can’t tell you if anybody’s available for that game. We’ll have to see tomorrow.” Both are on injured reserve, so the Blues would have to make a roster move to activate one or both. … With no changes in the lineup, Joel Edmundson and Robby Fabbri were healthy scratches for the second game in a row. For Fabbri, it’s his third scratch in the past five games. … The game was Jay Bouwmeester’s 400th with the Blues.