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Blues come back to defeat Hurricanes, win 4th in row

by Louie Korac /

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues entered Saturday on a three-game winning streak.

Each of the three wins came by a margin of five or more goals.

The Carolina Hurricanes, in last place in the Eastern Conference, were next for the Blues in the second of a seven-game homestand. It was an easy spot for a letdown.

Carolina came in healthy and gave St. Louis fits, but the Blues (26-13-3) regrouped and gutted out a 5-4 victory on a T.J. Oshie goal in the shootout to extend their winning streak to four games.

The Blues trailed 3-1 in the first period and 4-3 entering the third. After a lackluster first period that saw starting goalie Brian Elliott pulled from the game, the Blues needed a jump-start.

"We weren't very good in the first, but basically just regrouped, took a breath and started fresh in the second period," said St. Louis left wing Alexander Steen, who scored the Blues' first goal. "We wanted to make sure we weren't going to treat [Jake Allen] the way we treated [Elliott] in the first."

Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo agreed.

"Just needed to get better," said Pietrangelo, who had two assists. "We knew we had to be better all-around starting in the D zone. We had to manage pucks better.

“We have a pretty mature group of taking ownership when we've got to be better. We all did that and got the result."

Oshie shot first for the Blues and beat Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward for his first shootout goal of the season after starting 0-for-3. It was the only goal of the tiebreaker.

"I usually don't celebrate after the goals, but 0-for-2, 0-for-3 before ... it was nice to get that one," Oshie said. "I've been so worried about the ice because the format now without the Zambonis coming out. I had to just go out there and try to make a good move and if it rolled, it rolled. [The puck] stayed flat for me, for the most part, and I was able to put it in."

Allen denied Hurricanes shooters Jeff Skinner, Eric Staal and Alexander Semin.

"You just have to relax," Allen said. "You have to be a realist; you’re not going to win every shootout, but I wish I could. I just go in there and have fun with it, try to be as patient as I can and let them make the first move."

The Blues thought they won the game on a Jay Bouwmeester goal with 1:52 left in overtime, but it was waved off because Patrik Berglund interfered with Ward.

"I knew the goalie was off-balance, and he kind of hit somebody or just kind of fell over," Bouwmeester said. "That's the way it goes, doesn't matter.

"You just kind of regroup. There was only a minute and a half or something. We did a good job. We haven't had many shootouts this year. It's nice to win one."

The Blues scored twice in 54 seconds in the second period to tie the game 3-3 on goals by Jaden Schwartz and Berglund.

St. Louis captain David Backes had two assists. He has eight points in his past three games.

Victor Rask and Skinner each had a goal and an assist, and Staal scored for the Hurricanes (13-24-5). Ward made 31 saves.

"I thought it was a high-end game," Carolina coach Bill Peters said. "Obviously a little loose at times by us, but we scored four. I thought we moved the puck at times real well, we got hemmed in a little bit in the second."

Allen made 19 saves on 20 shots after relieving Elliott, who allowed three goals on 10 shots before being pulled.

"It was really good for Jake," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Really good for Jake to come in and help us a little bit.

"It's a combination. It was anything I could do to try to change momentum. I switched [Paul] Stastny and [Jori] Lehtera and that seemed to work. Just anything we could do to change momentum."

Vladimir Tarasenko tied the game for the third time when he scored his 23rd goal, which leads the Blues, at 6:46 of the third period. He received a stretch pass from defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk before beating Carolina defenseman Tim Gleason and Ward with a rebound goal off his initial shot to make it 4-4.

Tarasenko and Shattenkirk were named as the Blues' representatives in the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game earlier Saturday.

Riley Nash gave Carolina a 4-3 lead with 4:54 left in the second period off a scramble to the right of Allen.

Schwartz got the Blues within 3-2 at 4:07 after picking off a pass in the Carolina zone, extending his point streak to four games (three goals, four assists). Berglund scored from the high slot past Ward as Steen screened the goalie at 5:01 to tie it 3-3.

Rask's wrist shot from the left point caromed off Blues defenseman Chris Butler's left skate and through Elliott's pads 2:00 into the first period for a 1-0 Hurricanes lead.

After Steen tied the game to extend his point streak to a career-best six games (four goals, eight assists) at 6:21, Skinner scored on a wrist shot from the slot at 7:43. Staal's breakaway goal gave Carolina a 3-1 lead at 12:42 after Shattenkirk fell trying to get back into coverage, and Elliott was replaced by Allen.

"It's hard being up 3-1 and they score two big goals in the second and being tied," Carolina right wing Jiri Tlusty said. "But we knew what kind of team they have and how much skill they have in their lineup. We played a solid game and we didn't give them much."

Official Rob Martell was involved in a collision in the second period and did not return. He was being evaluated for an undisclosed injury.

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