April 6, 2019 / 11:26 PM / 14 days ago

Blues finish 3rd in Central despite shootout win

EditorsNote: update 2: new headline, updates third graf to reflect final standings

Apr 6, 2019; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues center Robert Thomas (18) controls the puck during the third period of the NHL Western Division game against the Vancouver Canucks at Enterprise Center. Mandatory Credit: William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan O’Reilly and David Perron scored goals in a shootout as the host St. Louis Blues beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 on Saturday on the final day of the NHL regular season.

The Blues (45-28-9, 99 points) briefly moved into first place in the Central Division, but the Nashville Predators (47-29-6, 100 points) wound up as the division winner for the second straight season after defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 Saturday night. St. Louis was in last place in the NHL on Jan. 3 but has become the hottest team in the league since then.

The third-place Blues will face the second-place Winnipeg Jets (47-30-5, 99 points) in the first round of the playoffs.

The Canucks, who will miss the playoffs for the fourth straight year, completed 2018-19 with a 35-36-11 mark for 81 points.

Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and an assist in regulation for the Blues while Brayden Schenn also scored for the hosts.

Tanner Pearson, with his fourth goal in three games, and Elias Pettersson, with his first marker since March 15, tallied for the Canucks.

Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington stopped 23 of the 25 shots he faced to increase his franchise rookie-record win total to 24. He also saved both of the Canucks’ shootout attempts.

Binnington has only six losses in his first 30 career NHL games since being promoted from San Antonio of the AHL in early January.

Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko, also a rookie promoted from the minors during the season, stopped 34 of 36 shots to finish with a 4-3-1 mark while being used in a backup role.

The Blues entered the game tied for second place in the Central with the Jets, one point behind the Predators.

Schenn opened the scoring 11:50 into the first period as he took a cross-ice pass from Tarasenko and fired in a shot from the slot.

After a scoreless second period, Pearson’s breakaway goal drew the Canucks even at 3:53 of the third.

The marker extended Pearson’s goal-scoring streak to three games. He scored five regulation-time goals and a shootout winner in the final six games of the season. He improved his chances of future employment with Vancouver — the third squad that he has played for this season — after trades from Los Angeles and Pittsburgh.

Demko recorded his first career NHL assist on the play.

Slideshow (15 Images)

The Blues regained the lead as Tarasenko beat Demko with a high shot at 10:29 of the final period. However, Pettersson created a 2-2 tie with 2:09 remaining in regulation as he one-timed a pass from Alexander Edler.

The Blues received a power play in overtime after Vancouver’s Bo Horvat took a hooking penalty, but they couldn’t take advantage.

—Field Level Media

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