Saturday, November 21, 2015

Pulkkinen's OT goal gives Red Wings 4-3 win over Blues

Tarasenko ties game late, not enough to keep 
St. Louis from dropping fourth game in past six 

ST. LOUIS -- In a game that goalie Jake Allen said the Blues "were lucky" to get a point, Vladimir Tarasenko did his thing again and gave the Blues a chance at a second point.

But there would be no bail-outs this time. The Blues did manage to steak a point but fell 4-3 in overtime to the Detroit Red Wings on Teemu Pulkkinen's power play goal with 18.8 seconds remaining Saturday night before 18,098 at Scottrade Center.

The Red Wings have defeated the Blues the past three times, all in overtime.

With Blues defenseman Colton Parayko sitting out an interference penalty, the Red Wings recovered a puck in the offensive zone after Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester had a chance to clear and couldn't. Brad Richards' pass set up Pulkkinen's one-timer from the left circle that beat Jake Allen top-shelf.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
The Blues' Kyle Brodziak (right) carries the puck into the Detroit zone 
under pressure from the Red Wings' Jonathan Ericsson.

Pulkkinen's shot deflected off defenseman Alex Pietrangelo's stick and over Allen, who went down to cover the lower part of the net.

After the Blues won the faceoff, the puck hopped over Bouwmeester's stick and he tried to take it behind and around the Blues' goal. The Red Wings' forecheck kept the Blues from clearing before Pulkkinen sixth of the season.

"It's a hard play off the faceoff and goes against the boards," Bouwmeester said. "There's pressure and they've got more guys than you. Yeah, we wish we would have got it out, but it doesn't change anything. You're still trying to kill the penalty. The goal goes off a guy's stick. It's not like we gave him a wide open net. Any time you take a penalty in overtime, I don't think it was a very good call, but that's the way it goes and you've got to try and kill it."

Pavel Datsyuk, Luke Glendening and Dylan Larkin scored for the Red Wings (11-8-2), who won on back-to-back nights after defeating the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 at home on Friday. Jimmy Howard made 30 saves. 

Tarasenko had a goal and an assist. He has nine points (six goals, three assists) the past six games and tied Chicago's Patrick Kane for the NHL-lead in goals with 13. Kyle Brodziak and Jori Lehtera scored for the Blues (13-6-2), who got 28 saves from Allen. Kevin Shattenkirk had two assists to extend his point streak to five games (two goals, five assists).

Tarasenko tied the game 3-3 with 2 minutes, 10 seconds remaining when he took Shattenkirk's feed, raced up ice and cut through the slot into the left circle, patiently outwaited Howard and beat him with a wrist shot.

But the mood in the Blues' locker room was they were fortunate to get a point. 

"I don't think it's a disappointment," Allen said. "I think we were lucky to get a point. I don't think we played our best as a group as a whole, myself included. Vladi saved us there and got us a point."

"I thought that we didn't win a lot of the puck fights that we have to win to beat that team," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "I thought we allowed them to exit far too easy. What did they score, two goals in front of the net. I thought they won the front of the net. There were stages there that we did a good job, but I thought their tenacity in boxing us out, was better than ours. I thought we had some guys that really played well and we had some guys who were a little off today."

The Blues lost for the fourth time in six games and are among the NHL leaders in games played. There have been what Hitchcock called "cracks" in their game as well as those that have played the most in the league. But the Blues gave this Detroit team, chalk full of speed, too much time, too much space and too much respect.

"The third was a good response by us, but to throw away the first two periods, you can't be doing that," Brodziak said. "It's tough to pinpoint exactly, but we've got to figure it out.

"... It's a combination of things. Maybe not pressuring hard enough, giving them too much time and playing a little more on our heels than on our toes. Just execution-wise, we're not quite as sharp as we need to be at the start of games and we're relying on our goalies too much to keep us in the games when we're not starting well."

Offense dominated the first period, with each team scoring twice. 

The Red Wings struck first with Datsyuk's 76th point in 66 games against St. Louis. Datsyuk's first of the season came off Richards' pass from behind the net on a quick one-time shot from the slot 10:04 into the game. 

The Blues scored twice in 1:40 to take a 2-1 lead. Brodziak's short-side wrist shot from the right circle beat Howard top-shelf at 13:10; it was his 100th career goal. Lehtera's redirection of Bouwmeester's shot-pass into the slot at 14:50 gave St. Louis the lead. 

But Detroit tied it with 1:29 remaining when Glendening scored his first of the season off a rush, beating Shattenkirk before firing a shot from the slot over Allen's right shoulder to make it 2-2. 

Larkin was credited with his team-leading eighth goal at 8:42 of the second period and gave the Red Wings a 3-2 lead when Henrik Zetterberg's wrister him and deflected past Allen. 

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Larkin is the first teenager to score in four straight games for the Red Wings since Steve Yzerman did it twice in the 1984-85 season.

Larkin was questionable to play after hitting a rut with his skate Friday before leaving the game after his right leg buckled underneath him.

Zetterberg's assist was his team-leading 18th point and his 67th point (42nd assist) in 62 games against St. Louis.

The Blues were outshot at the start of the third 8-1 before getting six of the last seven, including Tarasenko's team-leading 13th. 
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Vladimir Tarasenko (left) celebrates with teammate Kevin Shattenkirk
after his game-tying goal in the third period Saturday night.

But there were too many gaps in coverage, allowing Detroit easy ways out of their zone, and again, the Blues' exits from the defensive zone weren't clean.

"They've always been a good team possessing the puck and playing with the puck, and now they've got a bunch of young guys with a lot of speed," Bouwmeester said of the Red Wings. "We knew that coming in. Probably let them wheel a little bit too much, give them too much space at times. We had some chances. It just didn't work out."

"They're a quick team and they're a smart team," Allen said of the Red Wings. "They've got some of the best talent in the world up there in their top two lines. We just didn't have it tonight. I don't think our execution was on par with our normal game. We mustered a point out of it, which is very positive and huge for our division but Monday, get back to the drawing board."

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