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

Tarasenko helps Blues edge Predators in shootout

Sunday, 02.02.2014 / 12:18 AM / News
By Staff Writer | NHL.com

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.

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WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
S. Weber 79 23 33 -2 56
P. Hornqvist 76 22 31 1 53
C. Smith 79 24 28 16 52
M. Fisher 75 20 29 -4 49
R. Josi 72 13 27 -2 40
M. Cullen 77 10 29 4 39
C. Wilson 81 11 22 -1 33
N. Spaling 71 13 19 2 32
R. Ellis 80 6 21 9 27
G. Bourque 74 9 17 -5 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Hutton 20 11 4 .910 2.62
D. Dubnyk 11 18 3 .891 3.43

 
 

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