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game recap

Vladimir Tarasenko helps Blues rally for win

Scores twice in season opener against Blackhawks

by Brian Hedger / Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Once again, Vladimir Tarasenko was too much for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Tarasenko scored twice to help the St. Louis Blues defeat the Blackhawks 5-2 at United Center on Wednesday in the season opener for each team.

Including the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Tarasenko had 10 goals the past two seasons against the Blackhawks. He had an assist Wednesday, and Paul Stastny and Kevin Shattenkirk each had a goal and two assists for the Blues, who trailed 1-0 and 2-1.

"He's proven to be a big-time player, and obviously these games mean so much to us," Shattenkirk said of Tarasenko. "He's a guy who's so dangerous. We seem to just find him a little more often than usual against these guys and he makes them pay the price."

Video: STL@CHI: Shattenkirk's one-timer goes off iron and in

Jake Allen made 17 saves for the Blues.

Richard Panik and rookie Ryan Hartman scored for the Blackhawks.

Four Chicago penalties in the second period led to three St. Louis power-play goals. Shattenkirk tied it 1-1 at 4:52, Tarasenko made it 2-2 at 19:28 on the first of consecutive 5-on-3 power plays, and Stastny made it 3-2 55 seconds into the third period.

Tarasenko scored his second goal into an empty net at 18:54, and Scottie Upshall was credited with the final goal of the game, which the Blackhawks scored into their own net at 19:41.

Blackhawks defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk committed the penalty that led to Shattenkirk's goal. Chicago centers Jonathan Toews and Artem Anisimov were then called for minor penalties 37 seconds apart late in the second period to create the first 5-on-3, which Tarasenko capped with his goal.

Video: STL@CHI: Panik finishes rebound to open scoring

Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith was called for high-sticking during that play to create a second 5-on-3. Stastny's goal in the third came with Keith in the penalty box.

"It makes it a lot harder in a hockey game," said Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford, who made 29 saves. "[Penalties] gave them momentum. We were in a good spot there before a couple of power plays in the second. They got two quick ones and that was pretty much the game."

St. Louis was 3-for-5 on the power play, and Chicago was 1-for-4, failing to score on two power plays in the third period.

Goal of the game

After setting up Tarasenko's first goal, Stastny gave the Blues a 3-2 lead during carryover power-play time to start the third. He scored off the rebound of Tarasenko's shot, wheeling around to bat the puck out of midair past Crawford.

Video: STL@CHI: Stastny uses quick hands to hit home rebound


Saves of the game

Crawford was sharp starting the second period to protect a 1-0 lead. He made three saves in a three-second span almost a minute into the period, denying the Blues a goal after a turnover by Panik in the defensive zone. All three saves were off shots from close range, including the first two by David Perron.

Video: STL@CHI: Crawford makes consecutive stops in 2nd


Unsung moment of the game

Moments before Tarasenko's first goal tied it 2-2 on a 5-on-3 late in the second period, Stastny banged his stick on the ice to call for the puck while standing to the right of the net. After spotting a high-sticking penalty on Keith, Stastny got the puck and quickly fed it to Tarasenko for a shot that beat Crawford through traffic.

Video: STL@CHI: Tarasenko snaps the puck in on a power play


Highlight of the game

Hartman's goal put the Blackhawks up 2-1 at 13:57 of the second, getting rewarded for a heads-up play at the St. Louis blue line. He intercepted the puck at the right point, carried it in for a shot that missed wide, and scored his first NHL goal from the low slot after getting the puck back from rookie left wing Tyler Motte.

"It's a really good feeling," Hartman said. "It's something you dream of doing your whole life, but at the same time we did lose."

Video: STL@CHI: Hartman goes five-hole for first NHL goal

They said it

"We knew it was a crucial point in the game to really kind of step on their throats, if you will, and keep them down while we had them there. And we did just that." -- Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk on their 5-on-3 power plays


"We have to do a way better job of [penalty] killing. There's going to be slides like that, where we're in the box for a while and we need to find a way to get out of it." -- Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews


Need to know

Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson served the final game of a three-game suspension for an illegal hit during the preseason against Blues forward Ty Rattie. … Chicago right wing Marian Hossa has 499 NHL goals and is seeking to become the 44th player to score at least 500. … Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson, forward Magnus Paajarvi and Rattie were scratched.


What's next

Blues: Home against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; FS-MW, FS-N, FS-WI).

Blackhawks: At the Nashville Predators on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CSN-CH, TVA Sports).


Video: Blues utilize power play in 5-2 victory

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