ST. LOUIS (AP) — Vladimir Tarasenko knew he needed to step up with two of St. Louis’ top centers, Paul Stastny and Jori Lehtera, out of the lineup.
With Alexander Steen centering his line, Tarasenko scored twice to lead the Blues to a 4-3 win over the New York Islanders on Saturday night.
“We used to play before a lot of times in the last five years so it’s not a new line for us,” Tarasenko said. “It sounds simple, but we just try to fight for each other, put each other in a good spot, that’s why we’re winning games.”
Steen and Patrik Berglund also scored, and the Blues won their fourth straight game. Carter Hutton stopped 21 of 24 shots.
“In my eyes, that was a character win,” St. Louis coach Mike Yeo said. “We said that before the game, that it was going to be a character game. I was confident with the character in our locker room that guys would recognize that and we would respond.”
New York’s Thomas Greiss stopped 14 of 18 shots in the first two periods before being pulled in favor of Jean-Francois Berube to start the third with the Islanders trailing 4-1.
Brock Nelson, Anthony Beauvillier and Nick Leddy scored for the Islanders, who finished their nine-game trip 5-3-1.
“I think all we can do is keep chucking forward,” Islanders captain John Tavares said. “We’re still in a good spot. We know we’re right there battling for that last wild card.”
Berglund’s 19th goal gave St. Louis a 4-1 lead late in the second period.
Beauvillier pulled New York within two when he scored his eighth of the season 2:11 into the third. Islanders interim coach Doug Weight pulled Berube for an extra attacker with 2:39 remaining as his team went on the power play, and Leddy scored his 11th of the season to get New York within one.
Tarasenko’s second goal of the game and team-leading 32nd of the season gave him his sixth multigoal game of the season.
Tarasenko scored his first goal on the power play with Thomas Hickey in the penalty box for tripping.
“He’s one of the best shooters in the league,” Islanders left wing Anders Lee said. “He doesn’t need much space to get a shot off, and obviously it was apparent tonight he didn’t need it at all. He snapped a couple home. We play against great players like him all the time, but we obviously have got to play him a little tighter.”
New York appeared to tie it on Andrew Ladd’s power-play goal 11:31 into the first period, but the goal was overturned after Yeo challenged for Jason Chimera being offside.
“The way the game plays out, that could be a big momentum swing,” Hutton said. “That’s huge, especially with if that goal goes in, there’s two minutes left on that second power play.”