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Blues score four in second, defeat Bruins, Subban

by Louie Korac

ST. LOUIS -- Malcolm Subban's NHL debut was cut short.

Petteri Lindbohm, playing in his 10th NHL game, and the St. Louis Blues had plenty to do with Subban's shortcomings.

The Blues scored three goals on their first three shots in the second period against the Boston Bruins' rookie goaltender on the way to a 5-1 victory at Scottrade Center on Friday.

Subban stopped all three shots he faced in the first period, but Bruins coach Claude Julien pulled him in favor of Tuukka Rask after Lindbohm, Alex Pietrangelo and T.J. Oshie scored goals 4:21 apart to help St. Louis erase a 1-0 Boston lead.

Subban returned with 6:06 remaining in the third, but he did not see any more shots. Rask made seven saves on nine shots.

"Obviously it's not the way you want to debut with your team," Subban said after the Bruins lost their sixth in a row (0-4-2). "I guess I've got to look at the game tonight and think about all the stuff I did wrong. Obviously I was way too deep on all three goals. Regardless of how they went in, tip, screen, whatever, knuckle-puck, it doesn't matter, I've got to challenge more.

"There's no excuses, you've got to stop the puck. I didn't really give myself a chance to make the saves."

Vladimir Tarasenko scored his 30th and 31st goals for St. Louis. At 23 years and 70 days, he became the youngest Blues player to reach 30 goals since Brendan Shanahan in 1991-92 (23 years, 63 days).

"I'm proud about it," Tarasenko said. "It's the first time I hit 30 with the Blues team, and here in (front of the) home crowd.

"Kind of hard when I'm stuck on 29 and you try to score every shift so hard. I want to thank my teammates and my linemates. First one was an empty net, second one was great pass from [Jaden Schwartz]. We need to keep going."

The Blues (38-16-4, 80 points), who host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday and pulled within four points of the Nashville Predators for first place in the Central Division, got three assists from Alexander Steen and two from Schwartz. Jake Allen made 26 saves for his sixth straight victory.

"We calmed the game down a little bit, started playing," Steen said of the second period. "The first, they came out hot and pushed us back a little bit. Jake came up big, and in the second, we came out with a lot more jump and played a lot better."

The Bruins (28-21-9, 65 points), who lead the Florida Panthers by one point for the final Stanley Cup Playoff wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, lost center David Krejci (lower body) in the second period after he tried to hit Steen, who ducked at the last moment, resulting in an awkward collision with Krejci.

"We'd like to get a little bit of a break with some good goaltending from our backup," said Julien, who had no update on Krejci after the game. "And I guess we'll have to go back to the drawing board and look at how we want to approach this."

Lindbohm's first NHL goal came off an offensive-zone faceoff and pass from Carl Gunnarsson. Lindbohm's slap shot from the point caromed off Subban's glove and backside into the net and tied the game 48 seconds into the second.

"Great. I was waiting a long time," Lindbohm said of scoring his first career goal. "It was two passes and it was easy to shoot. We had been practicing with Tarasenko."

Pietrangelo's slap shot from the left circle deflected off the stick of Bruins center Patrice Bergeron past Subban 4:16 into the second to give the Blues a 2-1 lead.

Oshie chased Subban from the game when he beat Subban with a slap shot from the right circle after taking a return pass from Steen.

"We're dangerous and we can quick-strike," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We're really a momentum team. Once we feel and sniff out things, we really come at you, and that's what I really think we did in the second period. We sniffed out they were a little bit vulnerable, then we really went after it."

Rask said he tried to encourage Subban when he replaced him after Oshie's 16th goal made it 3-1 St. Louis at 5:09 of the second.

"Tough start for Malcolm, not getting any shots and then bang, bang, bang, a few goals and that's it. I felt bad for him. I just told him, 'Don't worry about it,' when he was skating off.'"

Tarasenko's power-play goal with 6:01 remaining in the second gave the Blues a three-goal lead. After Steen's shot was blocked by Boston defenseman Adam McQuaid, the puck went to Tarasenko, who had an empty right side to beat Rask.

Tarasenko's second of the game came off a backcheck by Jori Lehtera, who sprung Schwartz and Tarasenko on a quick 2-on-1. Schwartz fed the puck to Tarasenko, who beat Rask from the slot at 11:45 of the third to make it 5-1.

"The line looked like it had tempo back again," Hitchcock said. "It was very effective. They were dangerous. It's one of the most dangerous lines in the League off the rush, and that's exactly what they did: They scored off the rush."

Brad Marchand gave Boston the lead when he scored off a rush midway through the first period. His 17th goal came on a wrist shot from the left circle that went in off Allen's glove at 10:42.

The Blues' first shot came on Pietrangelo's harmless wrist shot from the along the boards inside the right circle with 7:46 remaining. They had a long talk after the first period, and obviously the momentum quickly shifted in their favor.

"Just have a good talk in the locker room and kind of hard to play against a team like this and a team like (Pittsburgh) tomorrow because we only play them twice in a year, but it was a really good talk after the first," Tarasenko said. "We can't lose anymore (in front of) the home crowd. We have a full house today and people wait for a win, so we talk about it, we talk about sports, our fans and I think our goal is to build a championship team. That's what we try to do every game."

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