Tarasenko’s three-point game powers Blues past Canucks 4-1
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Vladimir Tarasenko had two goals and an assist, leading the St. Louis Blues to a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night.
Tarasenko has 23 goals this season, and the three-point game gave him 500 points in his NHL career.
“It’s a great accomplishment. He’s been a very good player for quite a while. He’s continuing to be a good player. He’s actually a more well-rounded player than when I first got here, seeing him now,” Blues coach Craig Berube said. “He was very good tonight. He’s a leader of this team; he’s won here.”
David Perron and Marco Scandella also scored for the Blues, who had lost of three of four. Robert Thomas had two assists.
Ville Husso rebounded after allowing five goals Saturday and recorded 35 saves. He is 8-3-3 in his last 14 starts.
“It’s always, like I said, it’s nice to get a win,” Husso said. “I don’t care if I let four goals and we still win, it’s a big thing. And yeah, it was nice to get a win today.”
Brad Hunt scored for Vancouver. Former Blues goal Jaroslav Halak had 25 saves.
It was the first of a home-and-home set against the Canucks. The teams play in Vancouver on Wednesday.
St. Louis, outscored 12-4 in its last two games, jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period.
“I don’t think we were very good tonight.” Vancouver coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We didn’t have enough guys play with a sense of urgency that you need at this time of the season. I just didn’t think we were in it tonight at all.”
The Blues struck first when Scandella scored his second goal of the season at 6:37 of the opening period. Tarasenko’s shot went over Halak. Standing in front of the net, Scandella alertly pushed the puck in for the goal.
It was the first time in six games that the Blues scored first in a game.
The Blues converted on a 2-on-1 break to go up 2-0 at 14:02. Ivan Barbashev picked the puck from Conor Garland and passed to Perron. From the right circle, Perron’s wrist shot went high and beat Halak, who faced his former teammates for just the fourth time in his 16-year career. He is 0-3-1 against St. Louis.
Perron has 14 goals in his last 13 games. Perron had an eight-game point streak (10 goals, four assists) snapped Saturday against the Hurricanes. He has posted 22 points over his last 16 games (14 goals, 8 assists).
“I’m not blaming Jaro for anything. I think he kept us in the game,” Boudreau said. “Look, the first goal, I mean, what are you going to do. The guy is in the crease and it hits his pants and goes in. On the second goal, I know Perron has a 2-on-1 and it’s top shelf. He’s got a great shot. I know, I coached him.”
Tarasenko’s goal came just 49 seconds into the third period. Tarasenko was robbed by Halak on his first shot. The puck came back to him and he knocked in his rebound.
“I set the tone there in the third with a missed assignment,” J.T. Miller said. “We got off on the wrong foot there at the start of the third period. I actually had a good play before that. A good stick on him. I just puck watched for one second. I knew he was over there. I really do. I was just being stubborn. All it takes is one second with good players. You watch the puck a little too long and then it’s in the back of the net.”
The Canucks cut the lead to 3-1 on a goal by Hunt at 2:13. It was Hunt’s third goal this season.
Halak was pulled with 3:17 to play. Tarasenko scored an empty-net goal at 17:47.
St. Louis acquired D Brady Lyle from the Boston Bruins in exchange for future considerations on Monday. Lyle will report to the Blues’ AHL affiliate, the Springfield Thunderbirds. The 6-foot-1, 211-pound Lyle, 22, has dressed in 48 games for the AHL’s Providence Bruins this season, recording nine points (two goals, seven assists) and 10 penalty minutes.
The Blues have signed D Matt Kessel to a two-year, entry-level contract that will begin with the 2022-23 season. Kessel, who was drafted by the Blues in the fifth round (150th overall) of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, will report to the Blues’ AHL affiliate, the Springfield Thunderbirds, on a tryout and will be a member of the Thunderbirds for the remainder of the season. The 6-foot-3, 201-pound Kessel, 21, has spent the past three seasons at UMass-Amherst.
A loud cheer erupted in the first period when the videoboard flashed the image of Albert Pujols with the words: Welcome Home Albert. Earlier Monday, the St. Louis Cardinals announced the signing of Pujols to a one-year deal. ... Going back to Oct. 16, 2015, the Blues are 12-3-2 in their last 17 games against Vancouver. The Blues are 6-1-1 in their last eight games against the Canucks at Enterprise Center. ... Four of the Blues’ next five games will come against Pacific Division opponents. St. Louis is 11-3-2 against Pacific teams this season.
Canucks: Matthew Highmore (upper body), Nils Hoglander (lower body), Jason Dickinson (lower body), Kyle Burroughs (upper body), Tucker Poolman (head).
Blues: F Tyler Bozak (lower-body injury), D Torey Krug (upper body injury).
Vancouver: Hosts St. Louis on Wednesday night.
St. Louis: At Vancouver on Wednesday night.
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