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Nashville Predators 3, St. Louis Blues 4 (SO)

Tarasenko helps Blues edge Predators in shootout

Saturday, 02.1.2014 / 11:18 PM CT / News
By Staff Writer | NHL.com
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Nashville Predators 3, St. Louis Blues 4 (SO)

ST. LOUIS -- Vladimir Tarasenko took a play out of his father's playbook to help the St. Louis Blues win a game Saturday night.

Tatasenko's shootout winner in the fourth round against the Nashville Predators produced a 4-3 victory when he skated in hard on Nashville goalie Carter Hutton and whipped a quick wrister stick side. Tarasenko, who had a goal and an assist in regulation, scored in similar fashion in the third period to tie the game 3-3 after the Blues coughed up a two-goal lead in the game.

"That was a set play that my father teach me," Tarasenko said of his dad, Andrei. "If you do it right, it's probably hard to catch it. ... I just tried to make it through."

Tarasenko and T.J. Oshie scored shootout goals for the Blues, who improved to 6-2 in shootouts this season. The Predators got a shootout goal from Ryan Ellis, but Brian Elliott stopped Mattias Ekholm on the Predators' final attempt trying to get it to a fifth round.

"We needed this game after losing the last game," Tarasenko said.

Jaden Schwartz and David Backes scored for the Blues (37-12-5), who improved to 3-5-1 in the second of back-to-back games. They've beaten the Predators (25-23-9) eight of the past nine times the teams have met.

The Blues are now 14-0-1 against Central Division foes this season and pulled into a tie for first place with the Chicago Blackhawks, who were playing the San Jose Sharks late Saturday night.

"We didn't play a full 60 minutes, but we'll gladly take the two points," Schwartz said.

It was Schwartz, Tarasenko and Derek Roy that carried the Blues when the team really needed a boost.

"The line was great," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "They were really good early off the rush. They made plays, they played with a lot of speed and tempo in their game. We needed it."

Paul Gaustad, Mike Fisher and Roman Josi scored for the Predators, who also played Friday when they defeated the New Jersey Devils 3-2 in overtime at home.

"I thought it was a great point for us," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "You’re down to the St. Louis Blues 2-0 and it's a real hard rink to come into. They come at you hard. I thought as game went on, we got better and better. Had a couple of good chances at the end. Carter was excellent tonight. He's a battler. Tarasenko is dangerous, especially off the rush. He shoots it hard, that was a good line for them."

Down 2-0, the Predators got some life back when Gaustad pounced on an Ian Cole turnover and beat Elliott from in tight with 3:12 left in the period to cut the Blues' lead to 2-1.

With the puck in the left corner, Cole was bunched with teammate Brenden Morrow and a Predators player when he tried to play a puck through the middle of the ice that Gaustad picked off.

Fisher would fire a shot from the right corner off Elliott and into the goal 3:25 into the third period to tie the game 2-2.

Josi put the Predators ahead after Gabriel Bourque stole the puck from Barret Jackman near center ice and an ensuing 3-on-2 turned into a shot from the left circle, beating Elliott with a short side shot at 7:33 to give Nashville its first lead at 3-2.

After the goal, it was Tarasenko who went to his goalie and told him that the Blues would get the goal back.

"I just told him we'll get it back," Tarasenko said. "We play for each other.

"On our team, when somebody makes a mistake, we just try to help each other. That's why I go and told him we can get it back."

Tarasenko only needed 16 seconds to make his claim come to fruition. He brought the puck into the middle of the ice and beat Hutton with a wicked wrister high glove side to make it 3-3.

"Same like the shootout. It works a lot in the practice sessions," Tarasenko said. "Everybody told me to shoot the puck more and that's what I tried to do."

Hitchcock was impressed.

"The last guy I seen shoot pucks like that is [Mark] Recchi," Hitchcock said. "Mark has the same thing where he squares up the blade, the goalie can't see whether it's going left, right or high. When your blade's that square, you can't read off it. ... Pure shooters can only do that. There's not many pure shooters, but he's one of them."

Schwartz tied Tarasenko for third on the team in goals with 17 after be buried a backhand feed from Chris Stewart past Hutton 9:11 into the first period for a 1-0 Blues lead. The power play goal was a result of Predators captain Shea Weber in the penalty box for high-sticking Maxim Lapierre.

Backes scored his second goal in as many nights and he tied Joe Mullen for 11th on the all-time franchise goal-scoring list with his 151st after deflecting Jay Bouwmeester's one-timer from the right point 3:31 into the second to make it 2-0.

That's when the Blues lost it for a bit.

"It became a turnover-fest," Hitchcock said. "Two tired teams, but we got away with some of the turnovers in the second period.

"We played great the first period. We played the right way, we funneled pucks, we got pucks back, we did a lot of really good things. Guys bought in and then we struggled to keep that momentum going. We started making the next play and that got us in all kinds of trouble, and we started playing sideways again and it got us in trouble and it just fed their engine."

"We definitely got better throughout the game," Fisher said. "Both teams played [Friday] night, though both teams looked fresh.

"We're fighting for our lives here. Two (points) would have been awesome but against a good team like this, sometimes that's the way it goes and we'll take one."

Michael Del Zotto nearly got his first goal as a Predator, but his shot from close range hit the cross bar with 2:26 remaining in regulation.

Elliott made 28 saves for St. Louis; Hutton stopped 31 shots.





1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70


F. Forsberg 82 33 31 1 64
R. Josi 81 14 47 -3 61
J. Neal 82 31 27 27 58
S. Weber 78 20 31 -7 51
M. Ribeiro 81 7 43 11 50
C. Smith 82 21 16 4 37
M. Ekholm 82 8 27 14 35
R. Johansen 42 8 26 10 34
R. Ellis 79 10 22 13 32
C. Jarnkrok 81 16 14 1 30
P. Rinne 34 21 10 .908 2.48
C. Hutton 7 5 4 .918 2.33