Tarasenko has goal, 2 assists as Blues beat Avalanche 3-1
ST. LOUIS — Vladimir Tarasenko doesn’t like talking about himself. Alex Pietrangelo, however, doesn’t mind talking about his teammate.
Tarasenko had a goal and two assists to help the St. Louis Blues beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-1 Monday night, snapping a four-game losing streak.
“When he gets going, he’s hard to handle,” Pietrangelo said about Tarasenko. “His game is more well-rounded than you think. He doesn’t get enough credit.”
For his part, Tarasenko wanted to talk about how big the win was for the struggling Blues.
“We played for 60 minutes and it was a pretty good effort by everybody,” Tarasenko said. “This was a big game for us. They are the best team in the league right now. This was a good test. They have a lot of skilled players. I think we played really well.”
Blues coach Craig Berube liked what he saw from this club.
“This was our best game of the season,” Berube said. “We just worked. We were stingy.”
Brayden Schenn and David Perron also scored for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who came in with their longest skid since March 30-April 4, 2018. Jordan Binnington finished with 17 saves.
“We played a great game. That’s how we need to play every night,” Binnington said. “Hopefully, we can build off this.”
Nathan MacKinnon scored for Colorado, which was the only team in the NHL without a regulation loss and fell to 7-1-1. Philipp Grubauer stopped 22 shots.
“It looked like we ran out of gas here tonight,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “They were the hungrier team, and when they’re on the puck first with their numbers all the time, it just makes it difficult if you don’t have the legs.”
The Blues swept the four-game season series last season and their latest win moved them to 8-1-0 in the last nine home games against Colorado. The Blues are 15-3-0 over the Avalanche at home since April 5, 2011.
St. Louis scored twice in the second period for a 3-1 lead. The Blues outplayed the Avalanche while outshooting them 11-1 in the period.
Perron scored a 6-on-5 goal at 5:07, giving the Blues a 2-1 lead with his fifth of the season. Standing in the slot, Perron one-timed a pass from Tarasenko on a delayed penalty on Andre Burakovsky for kicking the puck like a soccer ball while playing with a broken stick.
Tarasenko scored his third goal of the season with 4:54 left in the period. Jaden Schwartz fed Tarasenko, who was along the right goal line, and his shot trickled between Grubauer’s pads for a 3-1 lead. Tarasenko has a five-game points streak and he moved into ninth place on the Blues career scoring list.
“I tried to make a good play,” Tarasenko said.
Schenn scored a power-play goal at 10:07 of the first period for a 1-0 St. Louis lead. Tarasenko dropped the puck to Vince Dunn, who sent a pass across the ice to Schenn. From the top of the circle, Schenn skated into the slot and rifled a shot over the shoulder of Grubauer.
Colorado had a two-man advantage for 26 seconds and made it count when MacKinnon scored a power-play goal on a wrist shot with 7:22 left in the first. The goal came with 3 seconds left in the two-man advantage. The Blues killed off the second penalty.
With the goal, MacKinnon has scored at least one point in each of the nine games this season for the second straight season. MacKinnon tied an Avalanche record (John-Michael Liles 2010-11, MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen in 2018-19) for scoring in nine consecutive games to open two seasons.
MacKinnon became the fifth player in NHL history with a season-opening point streak of at least nine games in consecutive seasons, joining Wayne Gretzky (30 games in 1982-83; 51 in 1983-84; 16 in 1984-85 and nine in 1985-86), Charlie Simmer (nine in 1979-80 and 13 in 1980-81), Guy Lafleur (10 in 1975-76 and 10 in 1976-77) and Rod Gilbert (nine in 1971-72 and 14 in 1972-73).
But that was all the offense Colorado generated on the night. It was the lowest scoring game and lowest shot total (18) this season for the Avalanche.
“To be honest, it wouldn’t have mattered if they had their ‘A’ game or their ‘C’ game tonigh,” Gabriel Landeskog said. “We just weren’t good enough and on a night like tonight we’re not going to beat too many teams.”
Colorado forward Mikko Ratanen left the game in the second period with a lower body injury. He did not return.
“As far as I know, we’ll just have to reevaluate him in the morning and see what happens,” Bednar said.
NOTES: St. Louis’ Carl Gunnarsson (lower body) remained out of action. He was hurt last Thursday. This was his second missed game. … Pitcher Michael Wacha and second baseman Kolten Wong of the St. Louis Cardinals were in the stands watching the game. … The Blues hold a 62-61-18 all-time record against the Avalanche. The teams will play four more times this season. … Colorado’s D Nikita Zadorov played his 300th career NHL game. … Colorado has played five games in its six-game road trip with a 3-1-1 record.
Avalanche: At Vegas on Friday night to finish a six-game trip.
Blues: Host Los Angeles on Thursday night in the finale of a four-game homestand.
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