A nervous third period Thursday ended harmlessly with an opportunity for the Blues to extend a rare winning steak. Vladimir Tarasenko wasted no time seizing it in the brief overtime period, weaving through Toronto’s skaters before parking the game winner past Frederik Anderson’s left shoulder.
Patrik Berglund had the other goal in the Blues 2-1 victory over the Maple Leafs, as the Note continued its torrid road trip back toward relevancy in the Western Conference standings.
First came the back-to-back shutouts on consecutive nights, one by Carter Hutton, the other by an apparently rejuvenated Jake Allen. The latter solidified his developing renaissance in the crease Thursday, allowing just a single goal while stopping 31 shots–including a dangerous flurry to keep the game tied late in regulation.
Three games in four days–all on the road–would certainly be considered a grueling stretch. Often in these scenarios, we hear a lot of talk about trying to steal a point here, a point there, and coming out on the other side no worse for the wear.
Instead, St. Louis evidently set loftier goals for this five-game road swing. They swiped all six possible points from the Flyers, Senators and Maple Leafs. But it hasn’t come without some difficulties.
After Robby Fabbri’s ACL injury incurred Saturday against the Penguins truncated his season, the Blues could be facing more misfortune on the health front after Paul Stastny left Thursday’s game with a lower body injury. Stastny collided with the boards after getting tangled up with Toronto’s Nazem Kadri. After skating off slowly and shortly later taking a lap around the ice to test his injury during a break in the action, Stastny headed for the locker room and did not return to the game. Mike Yeo did not have an update on Stastny's condition after the game.
With a short bench and a tired group, Yeo was pleased to see his team battle through those conditions and find a way to win.
“You saw every possible line combination you could see tonight,” Yeo said. “What was really impressive is you get a little adversity, you lose (Stastny) in the game, you give up a goal late in the (second) period, and I thought our guys regrouped hard. We had a big kill in the third period and that’s what you have to do. It’s not always going to be perfect. Things are going to go against you. But you keep bearing down, you keep executing and you keep finding a way. That’s what we did tonight.”
While securing the win took a full team effort, the Blues’ leading scorer ensured the overtime period would feature minimal tension. After the Blues were handily outshot in the third period, Tarasenko worked his magic to ensure the winning streak would carry on. His 26th goal of the season was also his 5th game winner of the 2016-2017 campaign. It also allows the Blues to continue to orient themselves toward the playoffs–a goal that now feels much more realistic than it did at the beginning of this week.
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