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Tarasenko, Allen help Blues defeat Devils again

by Louie Korac

ST. LOUIS -- Vladimir Tarasenko is taking all his recent attention in stride. The St. Louis Blues right wing is handling the success as long as he and his teammates are winning on a consistent basis.

Tarasenko extended his torrid goal-scoring pace for the Blues, who defeated the New Jersey Devils for the second time in three days, 4-3 at Scottrade Center on Thursday.

Tarasenko scored his team-leading ninth goal of the season and assisted on another for the Blues (9-3-1), who won their seventh straight. They had last won seven in a row last season (Dec. 28, 2013-Jan. 9, 2014).

"We work hard every day," Tarasenko said. "It's not about the scoring, it's about the wins. We have seven in a row? So let's make it eight and prepare for the next game."

Blues goalie Jake Allen had his shutout streak stopped at 184:01, allowing three late third-period goals.

"Those happen," Allen said. "I definitely have to learn from it. Luckily, we got that fourth goal, but that is something we can learn from. It's good that it's still early in the season. It's going to be pivotal down the end to put that killer instinct and finish a team off."

New Jersey scored three times in the final 3:25.

"Jake was the story after two periods," Blues coach Ken Hitchock said. "I feel bad for him. I feel like we let him down. It's a win but it feels a little bit like a loss because we let the guy down because he was so good.

"[New] Jersey came in with real purpose; they really pushed us hard. We pushed hard back in the third period, but I feel bad for him. He played a great hockey game."

Jaden Schwartz had a goal and an assist, and Jori Lehtera had two assists for St. Louis.

The line of Tarasenko, Schwartz and Lehtera has 14 points in four games in November.

"I like playing with those two, for sure," Schwartz said. "I've played with Tarasenko for a couple of years now. Whoever I'm playing with is fun and I enjoy it, but right now, there's chemistry there."

Devils forward Michael Ryder scored twice and defenseman Marek Zidlicky once. Cory Schneider made 22 saves for the Devils (6-5-2) before he was replaced by Keith Kinkaid with 12:10 remaining in the third period.

"You lose you lose. This League is about points," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "I thought we needed to be opportunistic, we had some opportunities and didn't cash in. They cashed in on theirs.

"They probably let their guard down a little bit with a 3-0 lead and we found a way to find the net a little bit. It wasn't enough."

Tarasenko scored another highlight-reel goal, weaving through three Devils (Ryder, Andy Greene and Damon Severson) and putting a sharp-angled wrist shot past Schneider with 4.8 seconds to play in the first period to give the Blues a 1-0 lead.

"It was a good pass from Jaden," Tarasenko said. "I forgot about the time. ... It was four seconds left. It was kind of lucky.

"Nothing special. We practice a down low, 3-on-3 game in our practices. I just do like our stuff there."

Schneider said Tarasenko is a hard player to defend these days.

"He came in with speed," Schneider said. "He's probably the hottest player in the League right now and you can't deny his skill.

"I tried to outwait him and he's real patient and got it up at the end to which I wasn't sure he was going to be able to. Another nice goal from him."

Schwartz gave the Blues a 2-0 lead after getting a stretch pass from Barret Jackman and beating Schneider over the right shoulder on a breakaway 11:05 into the second period after the Devils got caught on a bad line change. It was the first goal scored by a Blues player other than Tarasenko in 101:32.

"I could have made a move or two if I needed to," Schwartz said. "They got caught in a bad change and [Jackman] obviously had his head up and made a great pass."

Alexander Steen's power-play goal 7:10 into the third period, off a feed from Lehtera to the crease for a quick redirection, gave the Blues a 3-0 lead.

Ryder snapped Allen's bid for a third straight shutout with a wrist shot from the right circle at 16:35 to play to make it 3-1. David Backes scored a power-play goal for the Blues at 17:28 to restore the three-goal lead before Zidlicky made it 4-2 with 1:51 to go.

Ryder made it 4-3 with 50.5 seconds remaining off a feed from Jaromir Jagr.

"Obviously not ideal. You don't want to finish a game like that," Schwartz said. "But at the end of the day, it's a big two points. You can't let off the gas pedal there. They made a couple nice plays. We'll touch on that for sure."

The Devils lost left wing Ryane Clowe to an undisclosed injury late in the first period after a collision with Steen near the benches.

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