Tarasenko’s trick sinks Preda­tors in over­time

Chattanooga Times Free Press - - SPORTS - BY TERESA M. WALKER

NASHVILLE — Vladimir Tarasenko put on quite a show to keep the St. Louis Blues’ win­ning streak alive.

Tarasenko com­pleted a hat trick by scor­ing 16 sec­onds into over­time, and the Blues held off the Nashville Preda­tors to win 5-4 Sun­day, stretch­ing their streak of vic­to­ries to a sea­son-best six games. This one came a day af­ter they beat the Preda­tors 3-2 in St. Louis.

“I just tried to take it to the net,” Tarasenko said of his win­ning goal Sun­day. “I rec­og­nized I beat one guy. Good things hap­pen when you go to the net.

“It’s an im­por­tant game for us. It feels nice right now, es­pe­cially back-to­back against Nashville. We got those four points. It’s huge for our team.”

Tarasenko skated up the boards and across the slot be­fore beat­ing goalie Ju­use Saros stick-side for both the vic­tory and his 22nd goal this sea­son. It was also the 200th goal over­all and 10th over­time goal of his NHL ca­reer, re­sult­ing in his fourth hat trick in the league.

“Pretty im­pres­sive,” Blues de­fense­man Alex Pi­etrangelo said. “I think we all had a feel­ing there in over­time when he gets that move, out­side in, you’re not stop­ping him. We’re go­ing to need him to keep do­ing that. He’s on a roll.”

Nashville cen­ter Ryan Jo­hansen wasn’t happy with what he called a “very un­fair drop” of the puck by the of­fi­cial to start over­time.

“Pos­ses­sion to start is huge,” Jo­hansen said. “That’s all that matters. We played our butts off, and they played their butts off. It came down to a mis­take like that, and that should be ad­dressed be­cause that’s not fair. (Blues cen­ter Ryan) O’Reilly is an un­be­liev­able face­off guy, and I just want it to be fair. It’s too bad it ended like that.”

Pi­etrangelo and Tyler Bozak each added a goal and O’Reilly and Jay Bouwmeester had two as­sists apiece for the Blues.

Jake Allen made 40 saves in his first ap­pear­ance since Jan. 17.

For the Preda­tors, Vik­tor Arvids­son scored two goals — giv­ing him an NHL-best 15 since Jan. 1 — Filip Fors­berg and Ro­man Josi also scored, and Ryan El­lis and Ryan Jo­hansen had two as­sists each.

Nashville tied the score with a pair of goals over the first 6:10 of the third pe­riod, and it was Tarasenko who put the Blues ahead. He got the ben­e­fit of a bounce to beat Saros at 7:06 for a 4-3 lead. Fors­berg tied it up for Nashville at 12:53, and Tarasenko, who nearly scored within the fi­nal 80 sec­onds of reg­u­la­tion, could not be stopped in over­time.

The Blues have won seven of their past eight, push­ing them­selves into the sec­ond wild-card spot in the West­ern Con­fer­ence. Nashville, which came in one point be­hind Win­nipeg for the Cen­tral Di­vi­sion lead, had won six straight in this series on home ice, outscor­ing the Blues 26-8 with a cou­ple of shutouts in that run.

Now the Blues are 3-1 this sea­son against the Preda­tors with the fi­nal game of their sea­son series Feb. 26 in St. Louis.

AP PHOTO/MARK HUMPHREY

St. Louis Blues goal­tender Jake Allen blocks a shot by Nashville Preda­tors left wing Vik­tor Arvids­son in the third pe­riod Sun­day in Nashville. The Blues won 5-4 in over­time.

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