Thursday, March 23, 2017

Blues continue to soar with 4-1 win over Canucks

Paajarvi scores twice, Allen strong again for fourth straight win, ninth in 10

ST. LOUIS -- Blues left wing Magnus Paajarvi is like the big fish in the pond that continues to feed off what's thrown his way.

The more Paajarvi gets, the more he chomps, and the more he produces.

Paajarvi scored twice, his sixth and seven goals in 20 games since recalled Feb. 5 the day Robby Fabbri was done for the season with a torn ACL, and the Blues won their fourth in a row and ninth in 10 games with a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday before 19,356 at Scottrade Center.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Blues left wing Magnus Paajarvi pumps his fist after scoring in the first
period of a 4-1 win against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.

The two-goal game was the second of Paajarvi's career and first since his rookie season, Feb. 5, 2011 with the Edmonton Oilers against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Both came at critical times, and playing the way he has, Paajarvi is one player that's taken the most advantage since Mike Yeo took over Feb. 1.

The Blues (40-28-5) kept pace in the Central Division and Western Conference playoff races . They're tied with the Nashville Predators for third place in the division and trail the Calgary Flames by one point for the first conference wild card after Nashville defeated Calgary 3-1. 

"We'll figure out what happens after 82 (games) and go from there," Blues goalie Jake Allen said. "We've got a good thing going and hopefully we can keep it going. ... Once 82 is done April 9, we'll see where we are."

Alex Pietrangelo had a goal and an assist, and Kyle Brodziak scored. Allen made 27 saves and is 7-1-0 in his past eight starts after losing four in a row.

"We need a lot of guys to step up and obviously we got that from Jake, we got that from some of our top guys and then you look at what (Paajarvi) did and other guys did as far as raising their game and getting the goals is part of it," Blues coach Mike Yeo said. "... I thought we had a collective group effort and guys were ready to step up tonight."

Henrik Sedin scored for the Canucks (29-35-9), who played the third of a five-game road trip. Ryan Miller made 30 saves. Vancouver trails St. Louis and Nashville by 18 points.

The Canucks took a 1-0 lead when Sedin scored 13:38 into the first period. Allen looked like he was reaching for Alexander Edler's shot from the left point, but it caromed off Alexander Steen and fell in the slot. Sedin was there to bang the puck home.

"Tough bounce," Allen said. "Not a big deal."

And that's a reason why Allen's been so good lately. The ability to shake off a bad break. 

Paajarvi tied it 1-1, following his own shot after a Miller save at 17:32.  

The goal took all three members of Paajarvi's line to perfect it. 

Ivan Barbashev did a solid job keeping Edler's clearing attempt in at the blue line, then Nail Yakupov was able to kick the puck to Barbashev, who slotted Paajarvi down low from distance. Miller made the first save, but Paajarvi knocked in the rebound. 

"Great play by them," Paajarvi said. "(Yakupov) kicked it out of the air and 'Barby' made a great play to me. Took two shots to beat (Miller), but yeah."

Brodziak gave the Blues a 2-1 lead with a wrist shot high-blocker-side from the high slot at 17:13 of the second period. 

Pietrangelo picked off Christopher Tanev's stretch pass, carried it into the Canucks zone, dropped it off to Brodziak, who beat Miller with a pinpoint shot in the top lefthand corner.

"Any one feels good," Brodziak said of scoring. "It was a good play. ... Petro made a good play. He dished it off and drove through the net and opened up the lane."

Pietrangelo stepped onto the ice as Robert Bortuzzo was coming off and was able to intercept the Tanev pass.

"It was weird; I told 'Bobbo' he should have got the assist," Pietrangelo said. "It was either going to be a breakaway and the puck just kind of landed on my stick. I didn't do much. I just passed it to 'Brody.' That was a good shot.

"Good thing I passed it because I wouldn't have done that."

Paajarvi's second put the Blues up 3-1 at 9:41 of the third period, his eighth of the season off a nice no-look pass from Patrik Berglund from behind the Vancouver goal. The Canucks challenged for offside but the goal was upheld, much to the surprise the of the Canucks because as Berglund carried the puck into the zone, Paajarvi was the skater in question.

"I knew it was close. I didn't want to watch the replay," Paajarvi said. "They said it was good, so it was good."

Canucks coach Willie Desjardins obviously disagreed.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko (left) gets a shot off past the Canucks'
Daniel Sedin on Thursday at Scottrade Center.

"The ref said he didn't see it. It wasn't his call and the linesman cut in after and he said they couldn't see the puck," Desjardins said. "I think you could see his skates were off ice and you could see the puck wasn't across the blue line. Even if you can't see the puck, you can tell it's not in the zone so that has to make you believe it's offside. But there's another angle and I don't know if they have that angle. I can't tell. It's a small pad over there, so otherwise it was a tough call."

Pietrangelo made it 4-1 with an empty-net goal at 17:25 to seal it.

"We’re finding ways to win," Pietrangelo said. "We’re going to need more of that this time of year. We’re not really looking at the streaks that we’re on. We’re just kind of playing every game taking it day by day."

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