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game recap

Blues clinch third place in Central Division

Defeat Hurricanes in shootout, will face Wild in first round of playoffs

by Kurt Dusterberg / NHL.com Correspondent

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The St. Louis Blues clinched third place in the Central Division with a 5-4 shootout win against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on Saturday.

The Blues (45-29-7) will play the Minnesota Wild in the Western Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The playoffs begin Wednesday; the schedule will be announced Sunday.

"It feels really good," Blues coach Mike Yeo said. "That was something we set our sights on, and it's really impressive from our group, to be honest with you. The last couple months have been quite a run, and now we can get excited and get geared up for a real tough opponent."

 

WATCH: All Blues vs. Hurricanes highlights

 

Patrik Berglund and Vladimir Tarasenko scored in the shootout, and Carter Hutton made 34 saves, including three in the shootout, for St. Louis.

Scottie Upshall, Alex Pietrangelo and Tarasenko each had two points.

The Hurricanes (35-31-15) have lost five in a row.

The Blues scored 26 seconds into the game. Ivan Barbashev got the rebound of Pietrangelo's shot from the point and finished into an open net to make it 1-0.

Video: STL@CAR: Tarasenko snipes top shelf to seal SO win

Klas Dahlbeck tied it 1-1 with his second goal of the season at 9:10. He used Pietrangelo as a screen and beat Hutton with a wrist shot to the far post.

Jeff Skinner's 36th goal gave Carolina a 2-1 lead at 19:31. Hutton stopped Brett Pesce's shot through traffic but kicked the rebound to Skinner for the tap-in.

St. Louis made it 2-2 with a power-play goal at 5:19 of the second period. Pietrangelo set up Alexander Steen for his 16th goal on a one-timer. The Blues scored with seven seconds remaining on the man-advantage after keeping the puck in the offensive zone throughout.

Joakim Nordstrom put the Hurricanes back on top 3-2 at 14:11 when he chipped Sergey Tolchinsky's pass into the net on a backhand. Tolchinsky was playing his first NHL game of the season after being recalled from Charlotte of the American Hockey League.

Video: STL@CAR: Reaves wrists puck in off defender's stick

St. Louis tied it 3-3 at 19:06. Ryan Reeves carried the puck through the neutral zone and scored from above the faceoff circle on a low shot to the far post.

"I saw Upshall driving and he took a couple guys with him," Reaves said. "So I was just trying to put it into some traffic. I don't think the goalie saw it."

Upshall's shorthanded goal 2:03 into the third period gave St. Louis a 4-3 lead. He beat Noah Hanifin to a loose puck in the neutral zone then raced in on Ward to score on the forehand.

"I thought our second period was great," Upshall said. "We generated some chances, we started to play physical. We created some momentum. We found a way to maintain that."

Skinner scored his second of the game when he went behind the net before reaching back to tuck the puck inside the left post to make it 4-4 at 9:14. The goal was Skinner's 17th in the past 18 games.

"It was good to return to our identity," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. "I thought it was a hard-working honest game. Both teams had a power play in overtime. There were chances both ways in overtime too."

Video: STL@CAR: Skinner uses soft hands to tuck home second

 

Goal of the game

Upshall gained speed through the neutral zone and scored after a backhand deke.

Video: STL@CAR: Upshall scores a beautiful shorthanded goal

 

Save of the game

Hutton came across the crease to deny Teuvo Teravainen's shot on a power play at 10:20 of the first period.

Video: STL@CAR: Hutton slides to deny Teravainen

 

Highlight of the game

Victor Rask won a battle along the boards and made a cross-ice pass to Tolchinsky, who set up Nordstrom at the net.

Video: STL@CAR: Nordstrom finishes smooth tic-tac-toe play

 

Unsung performance of the game

Bryan Bickell, who will retire at the end of the season following his comeback from multiple sclerosis, played 9:39 in his last game in front of the home fans in Carolina, who gave him a standing ovation in the third period.

Video: STL@CAR: Bickell gets an ovation in Carolina

 

They said it

"It's nice. You just want to win as much as you can. You hate to say you want to play a certain team or anything like that. For us, it's more about going into the playoffs playing the right way." -- Blues goaltender Carter Hutton on clinching third place in the Central Division

 

"We saw this morning the MS walk they did. A lot of people showed up and their team showed support like that. I was able to give him a tap on the pads. It's very admirable what he's gone through. The hockey community supports him, and it's nice to see the Canes support him." -- Blues forward Scottie Upshall on Bryan Bickell

 

"The biggest thing is my health. I don't want to take risks. It's obviously tough to leave, but I've got a life after hockey. To be healthy and to watch my kids grow up is important." -- Hurricanes forward Bryan Bickell

 

Need to know

The Blues went 17-6-1 in their final 24 road games. … The Hurricanes finished 23-12-6 (52 points) at home, the sixth time they have had 50 or more points at home in a season. ... Skinner had his seventh multigoal game of the season.

 

What's next

Blues: Host the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday (6 p.m. ET; ALT2, FS-MW, NHL.TV)

Hurricanes: At the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday (7 p.m. ET; FS-CR, CSN-PH, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Tarasenko seals shootout win vs. Hurricanes

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