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game recap

Vladimir Tarasenko boosts Blues in overtime

Forward scores at :20 seconds; Jake Allen makes 31 saves against Maple Leafs

by Dave McCarthy / NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- Vladimir Tarasenko scored 20 seconds into overtime to give the St. Louis Blues a 2-1 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre on Thursday.

"I don't like to talk about myself but it's a really important win for us," Tarasenko said. "It especially changes what we had before [our position in the standings] a couple of weeks ago. We just try to fight for each other and try to win every game. It was a really big test for us. We knew before it wasn't going to be a 5-1 game against them like it was at home. We just beat a really good team."

Jake Allen made 31 saves to help St. Louis (28-22-5) win its third consecutive game and improve to 4-1-0 since Mike Yeo took over as head coach. 

 

WATCH: All Blues vs. Maple Leafs highlights

 

"Too bad it wasn't three on three all the time. He's pretty dangerous; especially if there's only three guys on the ice and he gets a chance to shoot the puck inside the dots there," Allen said about Tarasenko's winning goal. "He just does his thing. He's a special player."

Video: STL@TOR: Tarasenko shows off hands, nets OT winner

The Blues controlled play for much of the first period, outshooting Toronto 17-4. The Maple Leafs' only scoring chance came at 1:28 when defenseman Connor Carrick hit the post with a shot from the right faceoff dot.

"We lost too many battles early, and as we got more and more competitive I thought we did a lot of really good things and got a lot better," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. "I liked the kind of game it was, instead of racing to ten [goals], it was a real hockey game."

Patrik Berglund put St. Louis up 1-0 at 4:15 of the first period when he sent a wrist shot from the slot over the glove of Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen, who made 38 saves. It was Berglund's 14th goal of the season.

Toronto (25-17-11) tied the game at 1-1 when defenseman Morgan Rielly scored his second goal of the season at 18:56 of the second period. The Blues, who had shutouts the past two games, had not allowed a goal in 159:14.

Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo had a chance to break the tie on a breakaway at 10:10 of the third period after coming out of the penalty box but fired a shot over the net.

 

Goal of the game

Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri got around Blues defenseman Joel Edmundson and took a shot that was stopped by Allen. Forward William Nylander tapped the puck free at the top of the goal crease and Rielly put the rebound by Allen who was out of position after making the initial save.

Video: STL@TOR: Rielly buries a rebound past Allen

 

Save of the game

Andersen stopped Blues forward Magnus Paajarvi as he cut to the net and tried to jam the puck in. After a scramble led to Andersen losing his footing, he gloved a point shot from defenseman Colton Parayko while lying on his side at 18:23 of the first period.

Video: STL@TOR: Andersen robs Parayko with great glove save

 

Highlight of the game

At 19:57 of the third period, Allen stopped Maple Leafs forward Leo Komarov and Kadri who were trying to jam the puck in at the top of the goal crease. Though the puck ended up in the net, the referee ruled that the whistle had been blown prior to the puck crossing the goal line.

"I had the puck right between my feet," Allen said. "He just shoved me and the puck just went, the momentum, it went right through. It was sort of sitting there. I could see it and he just pushed me in."

Video: STL@TOR: Allen makes a clutch save late in the 3rd

 

Unsung performance of the game

Maple Leafs forward Tyler Bozak won 13 of 19 faceoffs (68 percent).

 

They said it

"Four on four was nice but three on three is more space, more space to create something, and I think more fun. I don't think it's a lot of fun for coaches though." -- Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko

 

"I thought he was good for sure, I thought we boxed out better around him and made better plays around him. When they're shooting it in an empty net because you don't have people [in the right positions], that's hard for the goalie. When you play right, your goalie looks way better and in the end it looks like he makes way more big saves, but they're reasonable saves." -- Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock 

 

Need to know

Maple Leafs forward Nikita Soshnikov did not dress because of an upper-body injury. Forward Josh Leivo replaced him. It was his first game since Jan. 7 when the Maple Leafs lost 5-3 to the Montreal Canadiens. … Blues forward Paul Stastny was hobbled after a collision with Kadri on his first shift of the second period. He initially remained on the bench but went to the dressing room midway through the period. Yeo did not have an update on his status.

 

What's next

Blues: At the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CITY, TVA Sports, NHLN-US, FS-MW, NHL.TV)

Maple Leafs: Host the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CBC, MSG-B, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Tarasenko nets OT winner to lift Blues past Leafs

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