Leafs fall in OT to Blues
Tarasenko ends tense battle with big goal in extra session.
TORONTO — Vladimir Tarasenko scored the overtime winner as the St. Louis Blue kept rolling under new head coach Mike Yeo, beating the Toronto Maple Leafs, 2-1, in National Hockey League play Thursday night.
Tarasenko snapped his 26th goal of the year past Frederik Andersen 20 seconds into the extra frame as St Louis improved to 4-1-0 under Yeo, who replaced Ken Hitchcock as the Blues’ coach last week.
Morgan Rielly scored the lone goal for Toronto (25-1711), Andersen sharp with 38 saves in defeat.
It was the second time in a week that St. Louis (2822-5) beat Toronto, the Blues emerging 5-1 last week at home.
St. Louis, third in the Central Division with 61 points, came out full of fire against the Leafs again in this one, looking a lot like the club that reached last year’s Western Conference final against San Jose.
The Blues outshot Toronto 17-4 over the first 20 minutes, grabbing the first goal from Berglund. The six-foot-four Swedish centre pounced on a blocked shot in the high slot and whipped a shot under the glove of Andersen.
The 27-year-old Andersen has been scuffling in the new year, but especially of late. He entered the night yielding 16 goals in his past three starts. His best save in the first came with under two minutes go when, while down and out in the crease, he still managed to glove down a Colton Parayko point shot.
Jake Allen at the other end faced little of consequence. The 26-year-old’s struggles this season helped pave the way for Hitchcock’s dismissal last Wednesday. A Fredericton native, Allen came into the night with a .900 save percentage this season, which included a 30-save shutout in his last start.
The Leafs finally got one with 64 seconds left in the frame. Nazem Kadri drove down the right side and fired a shot at Allen, the juicy rebound trickling off William Nylander toward the weakside where it was slammed home by Rielly.
St. Louis Blues right-winger Vladimir Tarasenko celebrates his game-winning goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs in overtime at the Air Canada Centre on Thursday night. The Blues won 2-1.