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Allen, Tarasenko help Blues to shutout win at Bruins

by Matt Kalman

BOSTON -- Vladimir Tarasenko stayed red hot, and goaltender Jake Allen made 32 saves to help the St. Louis Blues defeat the Boston Bruins 2-0 at TD Garden on Tuesday.

The Blues (21-11-4) have won four of their past five games.

Allen, who allowed four goals on 31 shots in a 4-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday, rewarded coach Ken Hitchcock's confidence to start him in each game of the back-to-back.

"You know, I felt pretty good last night even though we lost," Allen said. "Just trying to carry that momentum that I had last night into tonight and give the boys a chance. It's always tough playing them back to back, but we grinded and we knew we had a couple of days off to get the bodies back in shape, and the guys did a great job."

Tarasenko scored his 22nd goal to extend his point streak to seven games. He has six goals and five assists during the streak.

St. Louis took a 1-0 lead on Tarasenko's goal at 7:35 of the third period. David Backes retrieved a dump-in along the left wall of the Blues zone and passed the puck to Magnus Paajarvi, who skated it into the neutral zone before hitting Tarasenko in stride just outside the Bruins zone. Tarasenko got behind the Boston defense before he beat goalie Tuukka Rask with a wrist shot.

"I don't know if he had many chances in this game outside of that, but all he needs is one chance," Allen said. "And that's the difference between him and a lot of other guys. He only needs one chance compared to four or five. When you see him on that breakaway, you know there's a good chance it's going to go in.

Robby Fabbri doubled the Blues lead at 12:50 after he took Alex Pietrangelo's pass from deep in the St. Louis zone at the red line and gained the Boston zone with a lot of space in front of him. Fabbri shot in stride from the left faceoff dot and beat Rask high to the glove side.

The Bruins (19-10-4), who had won three in a row, lost in regulation for the second time in the past 16 games (11-2-3). Rask made 27 saves, but his personal winning streak ended at five games.

It was the first time the Bruins were shut out this season.

"I thought for two periods we were fine. But at the end of the night, I think the biggest thing is that I didn't think we worked hard enough to get on the inside," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "They did a good job of keeping us on the outside. There was a lot of times we were shooting and we had no net-front presence. They were boxing us out, and we weren't working hard enough to get on the inside."

Twenty-seven seconds into the game, Rask stopped Troy Brouwer on a partial breakaway. From there, Rask and Allen dominated the first period, when the Bruins outshot the Blues 14-10.

The second period matched the first in terms of physicality and scoring. The Blues had a couple chances to get on the scoreboard. Alexander Steen hit the post with a wrist shot at 9:04. St. Louis had two shots on Rask on the only power play of the period.

Brad Marchand had Boston's best chance of the second after he recovered a rebound of a Zdeno Chara slap shot. But Allen sprawled out to stop Marchand's backhand shot at 12:57.

"Quite frankly, this is the way we have to play every night," Hitchcock said. "We're not a team that can afford to be 85 percent. Some teams can get away with that. We're 100 percent in to play the right way, and that's a small margin. Especially with the teams that are coming up post-Christmas. We're going to have to be 100 percent all the way in. And 100 percent means for 60 minutes; not 45, not 50. That's what was impressive today, and disappointing yesterday."

The Blues played without defenseman Carl Gunnarsson, who missed his first game of the season because of an injury.

Each team has reached the NHL's three-day Christmas break. Boston will next play Saturday at home against the Buffalo Sabres. The Blues will host the Dallas Stars that night.

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