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game recap

Nilsson makes 35 saves, Senators shut out Blues

Wolanin, Tierney score against St. Louis, which falls to first wild card in West

by Callum Fraser / NHL.com Correspondent

Nilsson's big pad save

STL@OTT: Nilsson shuts down O'Reilly's chance

Ryan O'Reilly gathers the puck and takes a powerful shot in close, but he's stopped by Anders Nilsson, keeping the Senators' 1-0 lead intact

  • 00:13 •

OTTAWA -- Anders Nilsson made 35 saves and the Ottawa Senators ended a four-game losing streak with a 2-0 win against the St. Louis Blues at Canadian Tire Centre on Thursday.

"We had the bounces on our side," Nilsson said. "They had some pucks that went off the post there a couple times and some scrambles in the crease that ended up bouncing away. But usually when you have the bounces on your side it's because everyone's working hard."

 

[WATCH: All Blues vs. Senators highlights]

 

It was Nilsson's second shutout of the season and sixth of his NHL career. He became the first goalie in Senators history to shut out the Blues. 

"Our goalie was our best player," Senators coach Marc Crawford said. "He was the main reason that we got the win. He wasn't the only reason that we got the win, but that was a spectacular game for Anders Nilsson. He made, probably, about five or six really excellent saves tonight. And I thought you could tell early on that he had it. At least we could tell."

Video: Nilsson earns Thursday's Pepsi Zero Sugar Shutout

Christian Wolanin and Chris Tierney scored for the Senators (24-41-6), who won for the second time in 13 games (2-10-1).

"It was unreal," Wolanin said of Nilsson's performance. "Obviously it's been a tough year and we're not getting a lot of wins, but a win like that, where he dominated the game, without him we truly wouldn't have won that game."

Jake Allen made 19 saves for the Blues (36-27-7), who have lost three straight (0-2-1).

"The effort's there, the mindset's there, it's just that we've been snakebitten a little bit lately," Allen said. "Everything seemed to be going right for us in that 11-game [win streak Jan. 23-Feb. 19]. You have those points in the season and then after that it's been tough. There's been a couple games where we've got goals, but they've been tough to come by."

Video: STL@OTT: Wolanin taps home Boedker's feed

St. Louis is tied for third place in the Central Division with the Dallas Stars and hold the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. 

"That's alright. We knew that was going to happen," Allen said of the Stars winning Thursday to draw even with the Blues. "It was [always] going to be a race to the end. It's still not over. Long way to go."

Wolanin one-timed a pass from Mikkel Boedker into an open net for a 1-0 lead at 13:27 of the second period. It was his first goal since Jan. 18. 

"That's a great pass," Wolanin said. "I thought we had a great shift leading up to it. It's a high-end pass from a high-end player, all you've got to do is not miss the net there."

Tierney scored into an empty net to make it 2-0 with 57 seconds remaining in the third period.

Defenseman Erik Brannstrom and forward Max Veronneau each made his NHL debut with the Senators. Brannstrom was plus-1 in 17:20 and Veronneau had five shots on goal in 14:20. 

Video: STL@OTT: Nilsson stops Steen with incredible save

"I liked both of them tremendously," Crawford said. "First off, Veronneau getting the amount of shots that he got, it was good. We need people who are shooters. He's got a good sense to get open, he's got good speed, so we saw those things tonight, and that was against a pretty good St. Louis club.

"Young Erik Brannstrom is as advertised. That kid has poise. He protects the puck really well. When he goes back for pucks he knows how to shield the puck, and those are things that usually you don't see until the players get 25, 26 years old."

 

They said it

"It was a phenomenal experience, especially sharing it with Erik [Brannstrom] over there, too. It was a lot of fun. It was just, like, that much better because the team won, too. Postgame was just that much better." -- Senators forward Max Veronneau on his NHL debut

"We need to have a 60-minute effort. It doesn't matter who we're playing now. Teams that are in the playoffs [or] out of the playoffs, they're playing loose and everyone's playing for something so you're going to have tough games every night. We let this one slip." -- Blues goalie Jake Allen

"We're running into some tough luck right now scoring. But you've got to battle through it. We've got to do a better job of taking the goalie's eyes away and scoring some dirty goals." -- Blues coach Craig Berube

Video: STL@OTT: Nilsson stops Thomas' strong wrister

 

Need to know

Berube said he'll find out Friday if forward David Perron (upper body) will be ready to return Saturday. … Crawford said defensemen Christian Jaros (hamstring) and Mark Borowiecki (illness) will likely play Saturday.

 

What's next

Blues: At the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; NHLN, TVAS, ATTSN-PT, FS-MW, NHL.TV)

Senators: Host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CBC, SN1, SNO, TVAS2, NHL.TV)

Video: Nilsson makes 35 saves in 2-0 shutout win over Blues

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