NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Vladimir Tarasenko put on quite a show to keep the St. Louis Blues’ winning streak alive.
Tarasenko completed a hat trick by scoring 16 seconds into overtime , and the Blues held off the Nashville Predators 5-4 on Sunday, stretching their streak to a season-best six games.
“I just tried to take it to the net,” Tarasenko said. “I recognized I beat one guy. Good things happen when you go to the net. It’s an important game for us. It feels nice right now, especially back-to-back against Nashville. We got those four points. It’s huge for our team.”
Tarasenko skated up the boards and across the slot before beating goalie Juuse Saros stick-side for both the victory and his 22nd goal this season. For Tarasenko, it was the 200th goal of his career, his fourth hat trick and his 10th career overtime goal.
“Pretty impressive,” Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. “I think we all had a feeling there in overtime when he gets that move, outside in, you’re not stopping him. We’re going to need him to keep doing that. He’s on a roll.”
Nashville center Ryan Johansen wasn’t happy with what he called a “very unfair drop” of the puck by the official to start overtime.
“Possession to start is huge,” Johansen said. “That’s all that matters. We played our butts off and they played their butts off. It came down to a mistake like that and that should be addressed because that’s not fair. (Ryan) O’Reilly is an unbelievable faceoff guy, and I just want it to be fair. It’s too bad it ended like that.”
Pietrangelo and Tyler Bozak each scored a goal. O’Reilly and Jay Bouwmeester had two assists apiece for the Blues.
Jake Allen made 40 saves in his first appearance since Jan. 17 as the Blues took their second game in as many days from Nashville, following up a 3-2 win in St. Louis on Saturday. Allen, who has sat behind rookie Jordan Binnington, called it probably one of his longest stretches without playing since being in the NHL.
“It’s tough if you’re a goalie or a player, just to get your legs back more than anything,” Allen said. “You always feel a little wonky out there at the start of the game, but you try to settle in as quick as you can and find your rhythm again, so that was the biggest thing, especially in a big game, a big rivalry. We are clawing for points.”
Viktor Arvidsson scored two goals, giving him an NHL-best 15 since Jan. 1. Roman Josi and Filip Forsberg also scored, and Ryan Johansen and Ryan Ellis had two assists each.
Nashville had tied it with a pair of goals over the first 6:10 of the third period, and it was Tarasenko who put the Blues ahead. He got the benefit of a bounce to beat Saros at 7:06 for a 4-3 lead. Forsberg tied it up for Nashville at 12:53, and Tarasenko, who nearly scored within the final 80 seconds of regulation, could not be stopped in overtime.
The Blues have won seven of their last eight, pushing themselves into the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Nashville, which came in one point behind Winnipeg for the Central Division lead, had won six straight in this series on home ice, outscoring the Blues 26-8 with a couple of shutouts.
Now the Blues are 3-1 this season against the Predators with the final game Feb. 26 in St. Louis.
The teams combined for four goals over the span of less than three minutes early in the second.
Pietrangelo beat Saros with a snap shot that hit off the left post and in 19 seconds into the man advantage. Tarasenko made it 2-0, beating Saros glove-side at 4:41, and Arvidsson finally put Nashville on the board with his 23rd this season, tapping the puck into an open net with Allen at the far post at 5:06.
Then Bozak capped the wild scoring spree at 5:51, sending a backhander over Saros’ stick for a 3-1 lead.
NOTES: Tarasenko matched his career-high point streak, stretching his current streak to eight straight. He has seven goals and five assists over the streak. He has had two other eight-game point streaks, the last from March 25-April 9, 2016. … Tarasenko also had a hat trick with an overtime goal on Oct. 28, 2014, at Dallas. … Brett Hull is the only other player in Blues’ history with a regular-season hat trick that included an OT goal with his on Oct. 9, 1997, against the Kings. … Tarasenko also scored the third-fastest OT goal in Blues history. … Forsberg became the first player in Nashville franchise history with five 20-goal seasons. … Ellis notched his 200th career NHL point with an assist on Arvidsson’s goal.
Blues: Host New Jersey on Tuesday night.
Predators: Host Detroit on Tuesday night.
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