Blues outlast Rangers in SO, win 5th straight
NEW YORK (AP) Nothing seems to be bothering the St. Louis Blues these days. Not blown leads, late deficits, or even some overtime.
The Blues dealt with several challenges Monday night against the New York Rangers, and escaped Madison Square Garden with a 4-3 shootout victory and a five-game winning streak.
''These are the types of wins you really need to achieve,'' said Brian Elliott, who had 36 saves and a first-period assist. ''This is a big one for us. They were coming at us hard early and we responded really well in the second and third.''
Vladimir Tarasenko scored in the third round of the shootout, the Blues' second straight, to go along with a goal and an assist in regulation. It was St. Louis' eighth win in nine visits to the Garden (8-0-1).
The Rangers lost at home in a shootout for the second straight game, following a 1-0 defeat against Winnipeg on Saturday. They are 4-1-2 in their past seven.
''We're playing some solid hockey,'' Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. ''We lose the last two games in a shootout, so I would say that our 5-on-5 play in both (was good).
''We are taking steps in the right direction.''
Alexander Steen also scored in the shootout, and Patrik Berglund and Jay Bouwmeester added regulation goals for the Blues, who lost a 2-1 lead in the third.
It was St. Louis' third victory after regulation during its win streak.
''That's the type of hockey we have to play,'' forward David Backes said. ''It was up to us find a way to come back.''
Martin St. Louis scored the tying and go-ahead goals in the third for the Rangers, who also led 1-0 in the first period on Chris Kreider's third of the season. Cam Talbot stopped 31 shots.
''There were a lot of positives we take out,'' said St. Louis, who had his 52nd multigoal game, ''but this is a game of results. We have to find ways, and we didn't.''
The Rangers earned a point despite a depleted defense corps and a rare start by Talbot, who gave Henrik Lundqvist his second game off this season. On defense, the Rangers were missing captain Ryan McDonagh (separated shoulder), John Moore (suspension) and Kevin Klein (foot). New York was forced to use Michael Kostka and recent call-ups Conor Allen and Dylan McIlrath.
The Rangers, who beat the Blues in St. Louis in the season opener, nearly won this one during an overtime power play, but Rick Nash's shot struck the post, and Elliott covered the rebound.
The Blues took their first lead at 3:50 of the third when defenseman Barret Jackman's shot hit Rangers forward Chris Mueller and then bounded in off Berglund for his first goal.
''I thought I played pretty well. I hadn't been in a game in a while,'' Talbot said. ''We have to find a way to win the close games, and that starts with me.''
New York was later denied after Elliott got out of position. The Blues had four other players in the crease, including Backes and Jaden Schwartz on the goal line blocking pucks.
The Blues escaped that flurry, but just over a minute later, the Rangers tied it 2-2 on St. Louis' second of the season. Carl Hagelin sent a behind-the-back pass from behind the net to St. Louis, who sneaked behind Elliott and scored inside the right post at 6:28.
New York went ahead at 13:17 when Nash feathered a perfect pass across the Blues zone that eluded defenseman Alex Pietrangelo and landed on St. Louis' stick for his second of the night.
However, that lead lasted only 1:16 before Bouwmeester's rising snap shot beat Talbot.
Lee Stempniak scored New York's lone goal in the shootout.
The Blues outshot the Rangers 17-8 in the second and got even at 1 on Tarasenko's seventh of the season and sixth in four games.
With St. Louis on its first power play, Tarasenko - the NHL's No. 1 star of last week - streaked into the New York end and eluded defenders seemingly with each stride. He got in on Talbot, quickly moved left to right, shifting from forehand to backhand, and reaching wide to tuck the puck inside the post at 7:18.
Elliott earned his first assist of the season.
On their first power play, the Rangers dug the puck free along the right-wing boards back to rookie forward Anthony Duclair at the blue line. He moved the puck to his left to Matt Hunwick, whose shot was deflected in by Kreider at 5:29.
The Rangers finished with a 15-4 shots lead in the period.
''First period, that was the worst we played all year,'' Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. ''I think we made the mistake of looking at who was out with the Rangers rather than who was in. We played a great second period.
''Our best player was our goalie, and it was like three different hockey games.''
NOTES: Blues C Paul Stastny (shoulder) missed his seventh straight game but took park in contact drills Monday morning for the first time since he was injured against Arizona on Oct. 18. RW T.J. Oshie (concussion) sat out his third straight. ... Rangers LW Mats Zuccarello was out because of an undisclosed injury.