Blues hold off Devils 4-3 for 7th straight win
ST. LOUIS (AP) Jake Allen was a little more than 3 minutes from his third straight shutout Thursday night.
In the end, the St. Louis Blues goalie had to hold on just to win. The New Jersey Devils scored three times in a span of 2:34 late in the third period but came up just short as the Blues extended their winning streak to seven games with a 4-3 victory.
Allen would have enjoyed another shutout, but said the main thing was getting two more points.
''I think shutouts are bonuses,'' he said. ''If I got that third one, great, I'll enjoy it for a little bit. But I'm just focusing on wins right now. Definitely a couple of things to learn from the last few minutes, but all in all, we got the win and we'll move on to Saturday.''
Allen made 24 saves and ran his shutout streak to 184 minutes before giving up his first goal in two weeks.
Vladimir Tarasenko stretched his goal-scoring streak to four games - he and Blues linemate Jaden Schwartz each had a goal and an assist. Tarasenko has scored five goals during his four-game streak and eight in his last six games overall.
''It's not about the scoring; it's about the wins,'' Tarasenko said. ''We have seven in a row. So let's make it eight and prepare for the next game.''
Alexander Steen and David Backes also scored for St. Louis. Jori Lehtera had two assists.
Allen, who stopped 26 shots in blanking the Devils 1-0 Tuesday night in New Jersey, had his shutout streak snapped at 184:01 when Michael Ryder beat him with a wrist shot at 16:35 of the third period.
Prior to that, Allen had not allowed a goal since Vancouver's Linden Vey scored on him at 11:57 of the third period on Oct. 23.
''I think he gets a lot of help from their team,'' New Jersey's Patrik Elias said. ''Their defensemen are some of the best in the league, if not the best, and they move the puck and don't give the other team great chances. When they do give up some, obviously he's played well for them. ''
Marek Zidlicky then scored at 18:09 for New Jersey and Ryder added his second of the game with 50.5 seconds left to make it 4-3.
''It's tough,'' Allen said. ''I just wanted to bear down and give them nothing. You had 1 minute left to get two points and lay it on the line. We got it. We squeezed it out.''
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock felt the team let Allen down the last few minutes.
''I feel bad for him,'' Hitchcock said. ''It's a win but it feels a little bit like a loss because we let the guy down because he was so good. Jersey came in with real purpose; they really pushed us hard.''
Cory Schneider made 22 saves for the Devils. He was pulled in favor of Keith Kinkaid after Steen scored on a power play at 7:10 of the third period.
Tarasenko got the Blues on the board just before the end of the first period with another highlight-reel goal. He got the puck from Schwartz in the slot, maneuvered to his left through three Devils, then pulled Schneider out of position before lifting the puck over him at 19:55.
''He's probably the hottest player in the league right now,'' Schneider said. ''You can't deny his skill. I tried to out-wait him but he's real patient and got it up at the end which I wasn't sure he was going to be able to do. It was another nice goal from him.''
Schwartz made it 2-0 at 11:05 of the second when he took a long clearing pass from Barret Jackman and skated in alone on Schneider. Schwartz put a wrist shot over Schneider's right shoulder for his sixth goal.
NOTES: New Jersey began a stretch of playing 15 out of 20 on the road. ... Schneider has started all 13 games for the Devils.