Sunday, March 18, 2018

Schenn's OT goal gives Blues big win, huge two points

St. Louis rallied to defeat the Rangers 4-3; Pietrangelo has three points, 
Soshnikov scored first goal as Blue; Tarasenko injured, missed final two periods 

ST. LOUIS -- Yeah, they needed that one.

In the worst way.

To say the Blues' 4-3 overtime win over the New York Rangers on Saturday night at Scottrade Center was a must-win, well, let's just say that the playoff chances would have taken another dagger to the heart and really made life complicated for the Blues, who now sit three points out of the Western Conference wildcard behind the Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars and Anaheim Ducks.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Blues center Brayden Schenn (10) works the puck away from the Rangers'
Marc Staal on Saturday night. Schenn scored in OT of a 4-3 Blues win.

And it was obvious in the sweat glands of coach Mike Yeo afterwards that this one meant everything.

"There was some ups and downs in that one, I would say," Yeo said after he sighed. "But it's a big win, a big response in the third period."

Brayden Schenn scored 1 minute, 2 seconds into overtime after Alex Pietrangelo's power-play goal -- yes, that's not a misprint ... a power-play goal! -- in the third period tied the game after the Blues squandered away the lead in the second period by allowing three goals after complete and utter domination in the first period that only resulted in a 1-0 lead.

"Yeah. I thought other than the second period, we had some real good pushes," said Pietrangelo, who had two goals and an assist in the game. "I think we did a lot of things we built off of from the California trip. I thought we let it get away from us a bit there (in the second period), but overall, we needed those two points."

Did they ever.

But there were tense moments after the first period when Vladimir Tarasenko departed after the period with what the Blues called an upper-body injury. 

Tarasenko took what appeared to be an elbow to the mouth from Rangers defenseman Neal Pionk during the first shift of the game. Tarasenko finished the period and didn't show any signs during the game that he was ailing in any way, but the Blues decided to pull him after the period.

"I'll update you guys in the morning," Yeo said before the Blues departed their charter for Chicago ahead of Sunday's game against the Blackhawks. "He got hurt in the first period there and got word that he wasn't going to come back and we'll update you tomorrow."

Yeo wouldn't say whether Tarasenko would accompany the team or not.

"I'll just update you tomorrow," Yeo said, who didn't really notice anything different about the Blues' leading goal scorer.

"I didn't," Yeo said. "I actually thought he was OK, but obviously I don't know. The players know and I know 'Vladi,' he's a competitor and he wanted to be out there."

The Blues marched on without him, even getting the first goal as a Blue from Nikita Soshnikov in the second period.

Schenn's goal came off a pass from Pietrangelo up the right side of the ice. Schenn carried it into the Rangers zone from his blue line, stopped on a dime, spun inside of defenseman John Gilmour and wired a wrister past rookie goalie Alexandar Georgiev.

"He looked like a pretty quick defenseman there," Schenn said of Gilmour. "I was kind of skating stride for stride with him and felt like I wasn't going to beat him. Just tried to turn up, pull to the middle and I was able to beat him off the wall."

Pietrangelo said, "That's a top-notch play. That's a goal scorer's goal. No better time than now to get that."

But it wouldn't have come to that had it not been for Jake Allen's save on Chris Kreider 22 seconds into overtime. with the right pad.

"Yeah, you know those two players are their best players and they sort of haunted us all night," Allen said of Kreider and Mika Zibanejad, who scored twice. "Krieder, he's like a NASCAR race out there. You just know he's buzzing. I had to honor Zibanejad because he's got quite a wrist shot. I tried to stay square to him and just get over there and get my right pad on it. My objective in the third was just give the boys a chance and I thought I did that and they came up with the goals.

"... Yeah, it was a good save. It was more of a desperation save than anything and 'Schenner' went down and perfect shot."

The Blues came out with a chip on their shoulders after throwing the kitchen sink at the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday and coming away with a 4-1 loss. They seemed to carry that same mentality into the first period and outshot the Rangers 16-2 but led only 1-0 on Pietrangelo's goal at 15:49.

"That was no different than the Colorado game. We talked about it," Pietrangelo said. "It felt good to carry that over and the momentum. We've just got to find a way to not do what we did in the second period. That first period was pretty good for us."

It was. The second wasn't.

The Rangers scored their three goals in the second and grabbed a 3-2 lead.

The Blues fed into the Rangers' speed and turned pucks over.

"We just turned the puck over and played into their hands," Pietrangelo said. "We know when we're playing north and predictable to each other. We knew that, we knew we had to regroup there going into the third and we did that."

"The way they've been scoring goals, the skill that they have, the speed that they have, you need an awareness out there when you're defending," Yeo said. "It's easy when you're in your defensive zone, if you're coming on the ice in a defensive situation. You need an awareness, an urgency when you have the puck, too, and I think that's one area where we slipped in the second period. We started to turn pucks over high in the offensive zone. When we were playing in the offensive zone, we didn't have the same urgency to make sure we were still on the right side of things."

Zibanejad tied the game 1-1 42 seconds into the second period when Jesper Fast's shot deflected off him past Allen.

But Soshnikov's first goal with the Blues and this season gave them a 2-1 lead at 2:24 of the second period on a quick wrister from the high slot after a drop pass from Chris Thorburn.

"It was a broken play going into the zone and [Thorburn] dropped the puck for me," Soshnikov said. "I saw the room for a shot and I shot it. I saw the room there and I went there."

However, Mats Zuccarello tied it at 12:07 on a scramble at the net after Alexander Steen broke up a 2-on-1 and Zibanejad's power-play goal at 14:34 gave the Rangers their first lead at 3-2 after Kreider's no-look pass through the crease and quick snap shot.

"It was huge game. I don't know what happened (in the) second period," Soshnikov said. "Kind of a quick turnaround. We dominated the first and was (a) tough second one, but it was nice to push back in the third."

The Rangers came in 20-0-0 when leading after two periods, one of two teams to not lose when leading after 40 minutes. But the Blues pushed and got Pietrangelo's power-play goal at 5:15 on a shot from the blue line that made its way through traffic.

"Yeah. I thought we had some good chances before that," Pietrangelo said. "We had some zone time, we were shooting pucks. We're just trying to simplify it right now.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Blues defenseman Alex Pietraneglo had two goals and an assist in a 4-3 win
over the New York Rangers on Saturday night.

"Just get the puck to the net. I think with me and 'Dunner' [Vinde Dunn] up top, the thought was the two 'D' get the puck to the net. 'Steener' did a great job there, 'Schwartzy' [Jaden Schwartz] giving me a lane there to shoot. It's a good job there by them when they're in front of the net. It's easy to see the back of the net and I just found a hole."

Now it's on to Chicago, where the Blues will play for the first time this season in an effort to gain even more ground, potentially.

"Nice to get two points there," Schenn said. "'Jakey' with some big saves, especially that one in overtime. 'Petro' scoring big goals. Everyone chipped in tonight. Solid minutes from guys like Thorburn, and we're going to need that down the stretch here. Playing a lot of hockey, and if we're going to grind out wins, we're going to need everyone."

No comments:

Post a Comment