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game recap

Blues lose to Rangers, but clinch playoff berth

New York rallies with four unanswered goals

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

Vesey chips home rebound

STL@NYR: Vesey cleans up rebound for go-ahead goal

Jordan Binnington makes a great save on Brett Howden, but Jimmy Vesey knocks in the rebound to put the Rangers ahead in the 3rd period

  • 01:07 •

NEW YORK -- The St. Louis Blues clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs despite losing 4-2 to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Friday.

The Blues clinched when the Arizona Coyotes lost at the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 in a shootout.

St. Louis (41-28-8), which could have clinched earlier with one point against New York, is third in the Central Division, four points behind the Winnipeg Jets and Nashville Predators.

 

[WATCH: All Blues vs. Rangers highlights]

 

"Whatever way it comes, I think anytime you make the playoffs it's pretty special," St. Louis forward David Perron said before knowing the Blues clinched. "At the same time, [at] the start of the year it's what we expected of ourselves, so it's nice to be in whenever we get in."

Alexandar Georgiev made 44 saves, and Jimmy Vesey scored the game-winning goal at 5:47 of the third period for New York (30-34-13), which trailed 2-0 in the first period. The Rangers have been eliminated from playoff contention.

"We found a way to win," Rangers coach David Quinn said. "Obviously our goalie had a lot to do with it and we got a timely goal in the third period."

Video: Dunkin' NHL Comebacks: Rangers rally by Blues

The loss Friday ended St. Louis' four-game winning streak and six-game point streak (5-0-1).

The Blues were last in the NHL at 15-18-4 on Jan. 2. They are 26-10-4 since, including an 11-game winning streak from Jan. 23-Feb. 19.

"I think it started in December on the West Coast," Perron said.

The Blues went 2-1 on a three-game trip from Dec. 18-22, when they defeated the Edmonton Oilers 4-1 and the Calgary Flames 3-1, and lost to the Vancouver Canucks 5-1.

"The feeling of our club was starting to turn, we were outshooting clubs every night, not always getting results, but you could feel we were carrying the play most nights," Perron said. "Obviously we went on an 11-game winning streak, so that was huge."

Vladimir Tarasenko and Perron scored, and Jordan Binnington made 21 saves for the Blues.

Tarasenko scored from the goal line to the left of the net for his 30th of the season at 14:35 of the first period, giving the Blues a 1-0 lead. Perron made it 2-0 27 seconds later, scoring on a wide-open tap-in from the slot off a pass from Jaden Schwartz.

"Scoring first, getting the momentum, feeling confident and we just kind of let that guard down," St. Louis center Ryan O'Reilly said. "We thought they'd kind of go away, but they're just a team that keeps skating, waiting for bounces and jumping in the rush every time. We just gave them too much."

Video: STL@NYR: Blues score two goals 27 seconds apart

The Rangers thought they got one back at 16:58 of the first period, but a goal by Mika Zibanejad was overturned after the Blues challenged for goaltender interference on Brendan Smith.

New York responded with two goals in the first 3:42 of the second period.

Ryan Strome made it 2-1 at 2:22 of the second period by knocking the puck into the net after Vladislav Namestnikov's shot got behind Binnington. Pavel Buchnevich scored 1:20 later on a one-timer off a pass from Zibanejad to tie it 2-2.

Video: STL@NYR: Buchnevich blasts one-timer past Binnington

"The last game I played, we were leading 2-0 and we lost that one," Georgiev said of a 5-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday, "so I knew we could come back just like that too. Just have to stay with it."

Vesey gave the Rangers a 3-2 lead, scoring on a rebound of Brett Howden's shot.

Chris Kreider scored into an empty net with eight seconds remaining for the 4-2 final.

"We certainly had plenty of chances," Perron said of the Blues, who had 78 shot attempts. "You look at the shot attempts, we were around 75. We had more shots on net (46) than they had even attempts (43). We did a lot of good things and we let them back in the game for no reason."

 

They said it

"We're not happy, we lost the game. The players' mindset is good. We want to win. We want to win games. It was a winnable game and we didn't win it." -- Blues coach Craig Berube

"To be able to dust yourself off and perform the way he did certainly is a great sign from a mental perspective. But I think he's been doing that all year. I think he's shown mental toughness and the ability to shake off anything that happens that doesn't go his way." -- Rangers coach David Quinn on goalie Alexandar Georgiev

 

Need to know

Tarasenko (31 assists) has at least 30 goals and 30 assists for the fifth straight season. Only Brett Hull did it in more consecutive seasons in Blues history (six).

 

What's next

Blues: At the New Jersey Devils on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, FS-MW, NHL.TV)

Rangers: At the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday (12:30 p.m. ET; NBC)

Video: Rangers rally to beat Blues, 4-2

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