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Blues top Bruins on Oshie's goal in OT

by Louie Korac

ST. LOUIS -- T.J. Oshie called it luck. The St. Louis Blues called it two points.

After squandering a two-goal lead on home ice for the third consecutive game, Oshie's goal 3:29 into overtime gave the Blues a 3-2 win against the Boston Bruins on Thursday night at Scottrade Center.

Oshie blocked Carl Soderberg’s attempt to rim the puck around the boards behind the Boston goal, causing the puck to pop out to the right of goalie Tuukka Rask. Oshie got to the loose puck and jammed it inside the near post for the first overtime goal of his career.

"It was a lucky bounce that it went there," Oshie said of the play that led to his 14th goal of the season. "I saw it laying there and kind of started jamming. It might have went under his arm or something. A lucky bounce and we'll take the point for sure."

Rask never could quite get a firm grasp of where the puck wound up after Soderberg's failed clearing attempt.

"It hit Oshie's skate and it hit the back of the net and it was on his stick," Rask said. "Then he backed it off my pad, I guess."

Alexander Steen and Jaden Schwartz also scored for the Blues. St. Louis got a season-high 36 saves from Jaroslav Halak, who improved to 8-3-0 in his career against Boston, including four straight wins.

"Our most competitive player tonight was the goalie," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said of Halak. "The goalie was outstanding, and he helped us a lot."

The Blues nearly lost the game early in overtime, but Alex Pietrangelo, who blamed himself for the Bruins' tying goal, was able to thwart Jarome Iginla's effort on a wide-open net with 3:09 remaining. After the puck came into the crease, Pietrangelo was able to turn and throw his stick in the direction of Iginla, who tried to corral a bouncing puck before knocking it into an empty side.

"Whoa, I had to make up for the second goal there," Pietrangelo said. "I'm lucky I just got stick on stick. Just turned around ... that's a big one at that point. It felt good after the second goal.

"I knew [Iginla] was sitting back there. I just didn't know if he had it or not. I just turned, he took the extra second, I guess, and I got lucky."

The Blues (38-12-6) moved within two points of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the Central Division and three points of the NHL-leading Anaheim Ducks.

The Bruins, who were 4-0-1 in their past five road games, had won three straight against the Blues in St. Louis.

"I'm proud of the way we played from the first line to the fourth line," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "All of our [defensemen] were really good tonight. I thought our team played extremely well and probably deserved better. It was an unfortunate bounce to lose that game in overtime but still a great effort from our team."

The Blues are 42-11-7 against Eastern Conference teams since 2010-11, the League's best record in interconference play during that span. They're 18-4-2 against the East this season, 10-0-1 at home.

The win was Hitchcock’s 110th as Blues coach, tying him with Scotty Bowman for fourth on the franchise's all-time list.

Boston (36-16-4) got goals from David Krejci and Brad Marchand, and Rask stopped 24 shots. The Bruins were 7-1-1 in their previous nine games.

St. Louis led 2-0 after 40 minutes, but Boston came on strong in the third period.

Krejci finally got the Bruins on the board with a wrist shot from the high slot past a screened Halak at 9:16. Milan Lucic was in front providing the screen.

Marchand scored his 18th goal 2:08 later after Johnny Boychuk's blast from the point caromed fast off the boards and Marchand snapped home a shot from a sharp angle to tie the game.

"I've just got to find a way to eliminate the stick [of Marchand]," Pietrangelo said. "It was a strange bounce at a weird angle, but at the same time, I found a way to make up for it there in overtime."

The Blues didn't panic. They felt like they had played a strong third period despite allowing the lead to evaporate.

"I think we played a really good third period," Halak said. "Although they came back and scored two goals, the first goal, it was a really good shot; even the second one, it was a [heck of a] shot from almost the goal line putting it off the post.

"I don't think we could have done anything different about those two, but I think we responded the right way after when they scored. We skated hard, we battled hard and we didn't give them any easy chances after."

The usually stingy Blues have had trouble hanging onto leads in the past week.

St. Louis blew a 3-1 lead against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday by allowing three goals over a 2:35 span of the third period on their way to a 5-4 shootout loss. They lost a 2-0 lead Saturday against the Nashville Predators before rebounding to win 4-3 in a shootout.

"We don't want to get into a habit of this," Oshie said. "We work hard to get the lead and we've got to hold it, especially in our home barn."

Steen scored his 28th of the season when he stepped into a slap shot just inside the right circle and beat Rask with 4:12 left in the first for the lone goal of the period.

Julien was upset on the play because the officials missed a high stick on Blues forward Maxim Lapierre, who clipped Loui Eriksson moments before the goal. Eriksson went to the dressing room and did not return for the remainder of the period.

"It wasn't so much that it wasn't called," Julien said. "The linesman saw it, and the rule is the linesman can call it if it's a high stick and there's blood. We thought it was going to get called because he told us he had seen it but that the whistle had to be blown right away and it wasn't.

"We had a player that lost some teeth and had quite a few stitches in his mouth. He's just taking his lumps, so it's a little disappointing, but it's a game and you move on."

The Blues doubled their lead when Schwartz scored his 18th goal 3:32 into the second.

Halak was sharp, and Hitchcock expected his No. 1 goalie to bounce back after losing Tuesday.

"Always does," Hitchcock said. "He's got great ability to just drop it and move onto the next day, and that's what you love in a goalie."

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