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Tarasenko lifts Blues over Predators in shootout

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The Canadian Press
2/1/2014 11:12:28 PM
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ST. LOUIS -- After the St. Louis Blues let a two-goal lead get away, Vladimir Tarasenko made sure they skated off with a win.

Tarasenko scored and added an assist in regulation, and then netted the deciding goal in the shootout to lead the Blues to a 4-3 win over the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.

Just seconds after Roman Josi gave the Predators a 3-2 lead at 7:33 of the third period, Tarasenko got control of the puck. He moved into the Nashville end, and after hesitating from the high slot, beat goalie Carter Hutton with a wrist shot at 7:49.

Tarasenko credited his father, Andrei, who coaches in Russia, for his tying goal.

"That was a set play that my father (taught) me," he said. "If you do it right, it's probably hard to catch it. I just tried to make it through."

But Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said Tarasenko, who has 18 goals, has the kind of skills that cannot be taught.

"There's not many pure shooters," Hitchcock said. "But he's one of them."

Brian Elliott, who has won 14 of his last 15 at home, stopped three of four shots in the shootout. Nashville fell to 1-7 in the tiebreaker.

Predators coach Barry Trotz was pleased to get one point.

"I thought it was a great point for us," Trotz said. "You're down to the St Louis Blues 2-0, and it's a real hard rink to come into. They come at you hard, but I thought as the game went on we got better and better."

Jaden Schwartz and David Backes also scored for the Blues, who have beaten the Predators eight of the last nine. Elliott made 28 saves to end a three-game losing streak.

Paul Gaustad, Mike Fisher and Roman Josi scored the Nashville goals, and Hutton turned aside 31 shots.

Fisher got the Predators even 2-2 at 3:25 of the third period when he beat Elliott from a bad angle along the right boards. Josi then gave Nashville its first lead, but it lasted just 16 seconds.

"Tarasenko is dangerous off the rush," Trotz said.

Derek Roy, who played on a line with Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz, said the sky is the limit for Tarasenko.

"I feel like he gets better every game," Roy said. "He's eager to learn. He wants to play well and he wants to win. Those are good qualities in a player."

Schwartz opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 9:11 of the first period when he converted a centring pass from Chris Stewart. Backes gave St. Louis a 2-0 lead when he redirected Jay Bouwmeester's shot from the right point at 3:31 of the second.

But Gaustad got the Predators back in it with 3:12 left in the second when the puck came to him in the slot off a scrum in the corner, and he buried a shot past Elliott.

NOTES: Nashville D Shea Weber, who scored twice in Friday night's 3-2 win against New Jersey, was listed as questionable because of an upper-body injury but he played his usual shifts. ... Backes played in his 543rd game with the Blues, tying him with Keith Tkachuk for 12th place on the team's career list. ... Josi has 11 points in his last 10 games.

Vladimir Tarasenko (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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