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game recap

Blues make it five in a row

Quick start helps St. Louis defeat Coyotes

by Jerry Brown / Correspondent

Tarasenko's power-play goal

STL@ARI: Tarasenko scores in traffic on power play

2/20/16: Vladimir Tarasenko receives the pass from Paul Stastny, then fires in a wrist shot through the Coyotes defense on a power play

  • 00:48 •

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Vladimir Tarasenko, Alexander Steen, Jaden Schwartz and Carl Gunnarsson scored in the first 10:06 to help the St. Louis Blues to a 6-4 win against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on Saturday.

The Blues, who scored two or fewer goals in nine of their past 11 games, tied a season high with six and continued their recent success against the Coyotes. St. Louis has won five in a row.

"You kept shaking your head and wondering if it was real," said Blues captain David Backes, who capped the scoring into an empty net with 0.3 seconds left. "[Arizona] had 12 goals in their last two (games), and I don't know if we had that many in the last eight or nine.

"It was a wild ride, but we found another way to get another win and five in a row is a good feeling. Different guys are stepping up all the time."

St. Louis (35-17-9) is two points behind the Chicago Blackhawks and one behind the Dallas Stars in the Central Division race. The Blues have won seven straight games against Arizona, outscoring the Coyotes 30-17, and have won seven straight games in Arizona dating back to March 22, 2011.

Video: STL@ARI: Steen scores top-shelf during breakaway

Blues goalie Brian Elliott made 18 saves and is 12-3-3 since taking over for the injured Jake Allen on Jan. 8.

Already without top defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, the Blues lost a key forward when Steen sustained an upper-body injury in the first period and did not return. Steen was checked into the boards by Coyotes defenseman Kevin Connauton and his left shoulder crashed into the boards as he went down.

St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock did not provide an update on Steen, who will be evaluated further in St. Louis on Sunday. 

"The guys did a great job filling roles and responsibilities and eating up ice time," Backes said. "When your best all-around player goes down, there's a lot to shoulder."

Arizona (27-25-6) lost top defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who sustained a lower-body injury in the first minute of the game while committing a tripping penalty against Tarasenko.

Video: STL@ARI: Schwartz tips in a goal from the doorstep

Ekman-Larsson, who has 17 goals and a career-high 45 points, came back for one short shift before leaving for the rest of the game. Arizona coach Dave Tippett said Ekman-Larsson is day-to-day and wouldn't rule him out for Monday, when the Coyotes open a tough five-game Eastern road trip against the Washington Capitals.

The Coyotes cut the St. Louis lead to 4-3 in the third period before Patrik Berglund tipped home a Scottie Upshall centering feed at 7:18 to restore breathing room.

"That squashed the momentum they were building. What a play," Backes said. "Those guys have been battling their butts off, and to have them connect was huge."

The Coyotes, who have scored 12 goals in the past two games, got two goals from Max Domi and one from Connauton after Shane Doan scored 23 seconds into play. But that good start quickly deteriorated.

"We can't afford to come out as flat as we did," said Domi, who has four goals in the past two games. "That's a really good hockey team over there and we'll know what it takes to beat those guys next time."

Video: STL@ARI: Doan goes around the net to score a wrister

Doan came out from the behind the net and slid a backhand shot between Elliott's pads. Doan has 24 points in the past 29 games since coming back from an injury on Dec. 12.

"We're down 1-0 on the first shift and you're thinking, 'Not another one of these nights,'" Backes said. "But you figured the dam was gonna break sooner or later."

The Blues scored on four of 10 shots against Coyotes goalie Louis Domingue (18 saves) before he was pulled for the rest of the period.

Tarasenko started it on the power play at 1:08 with a shot through traffic from above the circle through traffic that beat Domingue over the shoulder.

Steen put the Blues in front at 4:22 when Domingue left room off the near post and Steen picked the high corner from a sharp angle.

Video: STL@ARI: Domi cuts the deficit to one goal in the 3rd

Then at 7:49, Domingue lost the handle on an innocent-looking shot from Tarasenko and dropped the puck behind him near the goal line. Schwartz was able to get his stick down and get just enough to push it over the line.

"[Tarasenko] made a great shot. I thought it was going to go in, but it was rolling by the goal line and kept coming toward me," said Schwartz, who missed 49 games because of an ankle injury but has scored four goals in five games since returning.

Gunnarsson completed the run at 10:06 with a shot from the point that was inadvertently redirected by Connauton and past Domingue to give the Blues a 4-1 lead.

"Two of the first three goals I wouldn't even classify as scoring chances," Tippett said. "They are poor goals and should be stopped from that angle. The fourth one Connauton put in, so that's not on him.

"We have a lot of guys giving us everything they've got, but we have other guys we need a lot more from. The turnovers we had, especially from veteran players, we can't have that."

Video: STL@ARI: Gunnarsson extends Blues' lead in the 1st

Domingue was replaced by another rookie, Niklas Treutle, who made his NHL and stopped four shots. But Domingue came back in and settled down, finishing with 30 saves while Arizona got back in the game.

Connauton, who had two assists, made it 4-2 at 9:21 of the second period, taking advantage of a screen by Martin Hanzal.

Then 50 seconds into the third, Connauton fought hard to gain possession and put a shot to the net that was deflected into the slot. Domi pounced on the puck and pulled Arizona within 4-3.

Berglund's goal restored the two-goal lead, but Domi got his second of the game with an extra attacker at 19:26 to make it 5-4 before Backes sealed it.

Video: Blues score six goals in their win over Coyotes

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