EditorsNote: rewords to “eighth loss in nine games” in second graf
Patrik Berglund scored two goals, including the winner, as the St. Louis Blues downed the visiting Vancouver Canucks 4-1 on Friday night.
The Blues posted their fourth consecutive win and moved within a point of the idle Colorado Avalanche in the race for the second Western Conference wild card. The Canucks suffered their eighth loss in nine games as they came out flat following a decisive victory in Chicago one night earlier.
Vladimir Tarasenko, in his first game back after missing two with an undisclosed upper-body injury, and Dmitrij Jaskin also tallied for the Blues.
Sam Gagner, with his first goal in 26 games, replied for the Canucks.
Blues goaltender Jake Allen stopped 19 of 20 shots for the win. Vancouver counterpart Anders Nilsson, whose job for next season appears to be in jeopardy, continued his recent struggles, allowing four goals on 25 shots.
Both teams went 0-for-3 on the power play.
The Blues capitalized on goals early in each period and kept the Canucks chasing the lead throughout the game. The hosts led 1-0 after the first period and 2-1 following the second before padding their lead in the third.
Berglund’s first goal came only 40 seconds into the contest as he put a quick shot behind Nilsson from the right faceoff circle.
He netted his second marker of the night with a short-handed effort at 4:44 of the middle frame. Kyle Brodziak forced a turnover at the Canucks’ blue line, then drew Vancouver defenseman Derrick Pouliot to him on a two-on-one and then sent the puck over to an open Berglund.
Gagner pulled the Canucks within a goal at 14:47 of the second period as he one-timed Henrik Sedin’s pass through the goalmouth. Daniel Sedin also assisted on the tally.
However, the Blues went up 3-1 just 14 seconds into the third period. Jaden Schwartz stole the puck from Vancouver defenseman Chris Tanev in the corner and sent it out front to Tarasenko, who slid a weak backhand shot between a kneeling Nilsson’s knees. The goaltender whiffed on the puck with his stick as the disk went through him.
The assist extended Schwartz’s points streak to five games. Schwartz now has 12 points in his past 11 outings.
Jaskin put the Blues ahead 4-1 as he converted a rebound at 17:31 of the final stanza.
—Field Level Media