Blues, Tarasenko combine to sink Jets
Blues' sharpshooter difference in feisty encounter
St. Louis Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko is getting used to seeing the goal light flash behind the net.
Tarasenko scored twice, including the game winner, to increase his goal tally to five on the young season as St. Louis beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-2 on Sunday afternoon.
But Tarasenko's thoughts weren't on his own play after the game. Instead, he praised his teammates for their determination, especially during a six-game road trip.
"It's a tough road trip. We had something like three games in 72 hours," Tarasenko said. "We have one more game against an unbeaten team (Montreal). We have some time to rest right now and then go home after."
Tarasenko's second goal of the game proved to be the winner in a tough, back and forth affair.
"We won the street fight. That was a good, old fashioned street fight," St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said. "It was a lot of fun and we won the street fight. It was close, hard fought. The teams really get after each other."
The Blues (5-1-0), scored twice in the second and twice in the third. Scottie Upshall and Carl Gunnarsson had the other goals for the Blues, who extended their winning streak to four games.
Nikolaj Ehlers and Mathieu Perreault scored for the Jets (4-2-0).
Brian Elliott picked up the win for the Blues, his fourth, while Ondrej Pavelec picked up his second loss on the year.
Plenty of fisticuffs
There were just as many fisticuffs as scoring chances in the first period as both the Jets and Blues renewed their feisty, rough and tumble Central Division rivalry at MTS Centre.
Kyle Brodziak had perhaps the best chance of the period as the Blues forward had a wide open net in front of him, but Pavelec reached across to make the save rob the Blues of a late first-period lead.
But the floodgates wouldn't remain closed for long.
Tarasenko opened the scoring for the Blues with a nifty move and a perfectly placed shot over Pavelec's glove hand for his fourth on the season.
The Jets responded 1:04 later on the power play with Upshall in the box for high-sticking. Blake Wheeler, working down below the red line behind Elliott, found a wide-open Perreault, who made no mistake firing home the one-time shot.
"I like our start. I thought our first periodΓÇª we were on top of it. Our pace was just off a little bit," said Jets captain Andrew Ladd. "We weren't able to sustain as much pressure as we'd like in the last two periods."
The Blues regained the lead before the midway point of the second through Upshall's second of the year. Pavelec made the initial stop on Dmitrij Jaskin, who flipped his own rebound through the crease to Upshall, who only had to tap the puck across the line for the 2-1 lead.
The Jets struck again on the power play before the period ended. Ehlers let a seeing-eye shot go from the point that took a deflection off the elbow of Drew Stafford and caromed into the top corner of the net to tie the game at 2-2.
Tarasenko's winner and a late power-play goal from Gunnarsson clinched the win for St. Louis.
"I think we've shown we can play with anybody," Hitchcock said. "We've sustained very significant injuries here already and yet we've still found ways to score goals, which is a good sign."