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game recap

Blues maintain lead for third in Central

Remain one point ahead with win against Panthers

by Alain Poupart / NHL.com Correspondent

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The St. Louis Blues maintained their lead for third place in the Central Division with a 6-3 win against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center on Thursday.

The Blues (44-29-7) are one point ahead of the Nashville Predators in the division. Nashville defeated the Dallas Stars 7-3. St. Louis has one game in hand.

Patrik Berglund and Alex Pietrangelo scored power-play goals 3:12 apart in the third period to break a 3-3 tie. Ryan Reaves, Vladimir Tarasenko, David Perron and Jaden Schwartz also scored for the Blues, who are 13-2-2 in their past 17 games.

"Tonight was a huge step," Perron said. "I think it's huge in the [Stanley Cup Playoffs], the less travel you can do. Obviously every team is going to give you a good run. But I think the less travel and not having to go [play the Anaheim Ducks] or Edmonton [Oilers], it would be huge and we need to secure third place."

St. Louis would play the Minnesota Wild in the Western Conference First Round if the Blues finish third.

 

WATCH: All Blues vs. Panthers highlights

 

Berglund scored at 10:37 to make it 4-3 before Pietrangelo redirected Schwartz's pass at 13:49 to give St. Louis a 5-3 lead. Schwartz added an empty-net goal with 59 seconds left to make it 6-3.

Vincent Trocheck, Michael Matheson and Denis Malgin scored for the Panthers (33-36-11), who have lost six in a row. It was Trocheck's first goal since Feb. 28, ending a 17-game drought.

Video: STL@FLA: Reaves capitalizes on a turnover

"It's cliché, but I've never really cared too much about the points, especially when we're losing," Trocheck said. "Obviously it takes a little bit of weight off my shoulders. It's been a while since I scored a goal. It was nice to finally put one in the back of the net, get a little bit of confidence back."

James Reimer, back in the lineup after missing three games because of an upper-body injury, made 32 saves.

Reaves gave the Blues a 1-0 lead at 12:16 of the first period when he beat Reimer on a breakaway with a shot between the legs after a turnover in the neutral zone. Reaves tied his NHL career high with his sixth goal of the season.

Trocheck tied it 1-1 at 6:41 of the second on a 2-on-1 when he beat Jake Allen with a wrist shot to the stick side.

Tarasenko gave St. Louis a 2-1 lead 56 seconds later when his wrist shot from the top of the circle hit the crossbar and the rebound bounced off the back of Reimer's leg.

Video: STL@FLA: Tarasenko goes bar-down with wrister

Matheson tied it 2-2 with a wraparound 55 seconds into the third period.

Perron gave St. Louis a 3-2 lead at 5:36 before Malgin tied it 3-3 at 7:45 with a one-timer from the top of the right circle.

 
Goal of the game

Berglund positioned himself in the slot and got his stick on Jordan Schmaltz's shot from the point to put it past Reimer on the blocker side.

Video: STL@FLA: Berglund tips home Schmaltz's pass for PPG

 
Save of the game

Jaromir Jagr grabbed a loose puck inside the St. Louis blue line, skated a few strides and took a wrist shot that was headed for the far corner of the net before Allen stopped it with his blocker.

 

Highlight of the game

Perron's goal came after defenseman Colton Parayko carried the puck into the Florida zone. Parayko lost control, but the puck went between Matheson's legs before Perron retrieved it near the bottom of the right circle. He cut to the front of the net and toe-dragged across the crease before flipping the puck past a sprawled Reimer.

Video: STL@FLA: Perron uses slick hands for skilled tally

 
Unsung performance of the game

Blues center Jori Lehtera had an assist on Pietrangelo's goal and won nine of 12 faceoffs.

Video: STL@FLA: Pietrangelo taps in PPG for 300th NHL point

 
They said it

"The third period was good. The first two periods I thought we had good spurts and we had bad spurts too. We need to hopefully get a little bit more consistent the last couple of games, but big win for us and job done." -- Blues goalie Jake Allen

 

"It's been a tough year for us, especially late in the season here. It's no fun for us. We obviously want to win and this is not what we envisioned for the season when we came into it. Obviously we want to be in a playoff spot and even thought we could have gone a little further than we did last year. It's a tough way to end the season here the last few games. Hopefully we can get a few wins at end of the season and got into the offseason on a positive note." -- Panthers center Vincent Trocheck

 

Need to know

Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle played in his 631st consecutive game, the eighth-longest streak in NHL history. It began March 26, 2009 when he was with the Phoenix Coyotes.

 

What's next

Blues: At the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; FS-CR, FS-MW, NHL.TV)

Panthers: Host the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; MSG-B, FS-F, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Four-goal 3rd period guides Blues to 6-3 win

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