Blues Win Front End of Back-to-Back Home Games
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Vladimir Tarasenko picked a good time to break his scoring slump.
Jay Bouwmeester tied it in early the third period and Tarasenko scored the winner late in overtime to lift the St. Louis Blues to a 2-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night.
“He looked like he had his skating legs today,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said of Tarasenko. “He was a determined player. He stayed with it. We stayed with it. When your best player stays with it, it forces everybody else to do that.”
Josh Anderson scored for Columbus, which was coming off a 10-0 win against Montreal the previous night and snapped a three-game winning streak. Curtis McElhinney finished with 28 saves.
Bouwmeester ripped a shot past McElhinney from the left dot at 2:16 of the third with his first goal since Feb. 22, 2016, against San Jose.
“It was a good play by (Scottie Upshall),” Bouwmeester said. “I don’t know if they were coming off a change or some sort of transition. The whole side of the ice was kind of open. It’s good when you get a chance like that.”
Tarasenko’s wrister with 43 seconds on the clock in overtime broke his seven-game goal-scoring drought.
“You can’t give a guy like that that kind of time to come in,” Hutton said. “I’ve been victimized by him before so it was nice to see it went in and it was a nice win for us.”
Even though they outshot the Blue Jackets 8-3, the Blues were held scoreless in the first period for the sixth consecutive game. The three shots by Columbus were the fewest by an NHL team this season for the first period.
McElhinney came up big for the Blue Jackets with a pair of saves on Tarasenko from the slot early in the second period. McElhinney also got help from his post as Upshall hit iron with a wide-open net on a rebound attempt.
Making his first start this season, McElhinney turned away the first 24 shots, before Bouwmeester snapped Columbus’ team shutout streak at 121 minutes, 49 seconds.
“I watch Nick Foligno fight (Ryan Reaves),” Columbus coach John Tortorella said. “I watch Mac play the way he did in net. I watched some other guys do everything they possibly can to try to win the hockey game and then I see a few of our top guys, they did not give enough.”
Anderson put Columbus up 1-0 with an unassisted goal with 7:05 left in the second period. A turnover by Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk went right to the tape of Anderson’s stick, who ripped a point-blank shot by Hutton for his third goal in his last two games.
“I did a good job of getting body positioning on him and I was trying to separate from him and as I went to go get the puck to push it forward he gave me just a nice little touch right on my stick which whacked it right to the net front,” Shattenkirk said. “I just got to protect it a little bit better and be able to skate that out.”