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NHL Nick's Net

Tarasenko nets two in St. Louis’, 4-2, road victory

Vladimir Tarasenko scored a pair of goals to extend the St. Louis Blues’ winning streak to six games with a, 4-2, win against the Boston Bruins Tuesday night at TD Garden.

Blues goaltender, Ville Husso (23-6-5, 2.37 goals-against average, .925 save percentage in 36 games played), made 39 saves on 41 shots against in the win.

Meanwhile, Bruins goaltender, Jeremy Swayman (20-11-3, 2.34 goals-against average, .916 save percentage in 35 games played), stopped 26 out of 30 shots faced in the loss.

Boston fell to 45-23-5 (95 points) overall and remained 4th in the Atlantic Division, while St. Louis improved to 43-20-10 (96 points) on the season and in command of 3rd place in the Central Division.

Despite the loss, the B’s remain in command of the first wild card in the Eastern Conference.

Tuesday night marked the first time that the Bruins and Blues faced each other since Oct. 26, 2019, when Boston won, 3-0, on home ice in the first regular season meeting between the two clubs since the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.

The B’s went 1-0-0 against St. Louis in 2019-20, and did not face the Blues in the 2020-21 regular season due to the temporarily realigned divisions, as well as the condensed 56-game schedule.

The Bruins were without Jakub Zboril (right ACL), David Pastrnak (undisclosed), Hampus Lindholm (lower body) and Matt Grzelcyk (upper body) on Tuesday.

With Grzelcyk joining the list of injured players, Bruce Cassidy, made a few tweaks to his defensive pairings ahead of the 500th game of his NHL head coaching career (390th with Boston).

Derek Forbort suited up alongside Charlie McAvoy on the first pairing, while Mike Reilly slotted next to Brandon Carlo to fill out the top-four defenders.

Connor Clifton returned to action on the third pairing with Josh Brown, while Jack Studnicka and Anton Blidh comprised the short list of healthy scratches for the Bruins.

Tuesday night marked Torey Krug’s 31st birthday in addition to his return to Boston since joining the Blues via free agency prior to the 2020-21 season.

St. Louis’ first rush into the attacking zone yielded a 2-on-1 as Ryan O’Reilly worked a pass to David Perron while Reilly and Carlo were left trailing in the dust.

Perron (24) deked around Swayman and backhanded a shot high on the blocker side to give the Blues a, 1-0, lead 34 seconds into the first period.

O’Reilly (31) and Brandon Saad (24) tallied the assists on the goal.

The Bruins tied things up 15 seconds later, however, as Boston worked the puck deep where Brad Marchand fished the rubber biscuit from the endboards to Patrice Bergeron (20) in the bumper for a one-timer goal.

Marchand (42) and Forbort (9) notched the assists on Bergeron’s goal as the B’s tied things up, 1-1, 49 seconds into the first period.

The goal also marked Bergeron’s 395th career tally– tying the Bruins captain with Ray Bourque for the fourth-most goals in franchise history.

It was also Bergeron’s 20th goal of the season– marking No. 37’s 13th season with at least 20 goals in his 18-year NHL career.

Moments later, the Blues had the first power play of the night when Reilly was assessed a cross checking infraction at 4:03.

St. Louis failed to convert on the ensuing skater advantage and had another chance go by the wayside when Marchand tripped Jordan Kyrou at 7:40 of the opening frame.

Midway through the period, Perron tripped McAvoy, but the Bruins weren’t able to capitalize on their first power play of the night at 13:24.

Krug thought he scored in the vulnerable minute after special teams action on a shot from the point that deflected off of Clifton on the rebound and pinballed past Swayman, but Cassidy used a coach’s challenge on the basis that he believed the Blues were offside upon entry into St. Louis’ attacking zone.

Video review confirmed that Robert Thomas was just ahead of the puck at the blue line and therefore offside as the on-ice officials reversed the call on the ice.

Krug’s would-be goal was wiped off the board at 15:51 of the first period.

Less than a minute later, Boston surged in momentum– crescendoing as Clifton wrapped the puck around the boards to Erik Haula in the trapezoid before Haula one-handed a backhand pass to Marc McLaughlin as McLaughlin (2) crashed the slot for a one-timer goal that slipped through Husso’s five-hole.

Haula (24) and Clifton (7) had the assists as the B’s pulled ahead, 2-1, at 16:59 of the first period.

Heading into the first intermission, Boston led, 2-1, on the scoreboard despite trailing, 18-15, in shots on goal.

St. Louis also held the advantage in blocked shots (4-1), takeaways (3-2), giveaways (2-1) and faceoff win percentage (63-38), while the Bruins led in hits (8-7).

The Blues were 0/2 on the power play, while the B’s went 0/1 on the skater advantage entering the middle period.

Clifton sent the puck over the glass and received an automatic delay of game penalty as a result at 3:55 of the second period, but St. Louis failed to convert on the ensuing skater advantage.

Brayden Schenn cut a rut to the sin bin for cross checking at 10:41, but Boston failed to score on the resulting power play.

Moments later, Trent Frederic received a roughing minor at 14:17. This time the Blues made the most of their power play opportunity.

It didn’t take Krug (9) long to snake his way into the high slot and sent a wrist shot off of Swayman’s blocker side and into the twine for a power-play goal at 15:10 of the second period.

Schenn (31) and Perron (28) tallied the assists as Krug’s power-play goal tied things up, 2-2.

Shortly thereafter, the Bruins tweeted that Carlo was unlikely to return to the night’s action after leaving the game about midway through the first period.

Cassidy told reporters after the game that Carlo wasn’t feeling well and that it was not due to an illness.

Late in the middle frame, Thomas was the beneficiary of a forced turnover before feeding the puck to Pavel Buchnevich as the Blues broke out.

Buchnevich returned the package back to the sender before Thomas setup Tarasenko (27) on a between the legs pass for a catch and release goal on Swayman’s blocker side.

Tarasenko gave St. Louis a, 3-2, lead at 18:12 of the second period, while Thomas (48) and Buchnevich (36) recorded the assists on the goal.

Through 40 minutes of action Tuesday night, the Blues led, 3-2, on the scoreboard despite trailing the Bruins, 28-26, in shots on goal– including a, 13-8, advantage for Boston in the second period alone.

St. Louis led in takeaways (8-2), while the B’s held the advantage in blocked shots (8-6), hits (17-14) and faceoff win% (57-43).

Both teams had five giveaways each heading into the final frame.

As there were no penalties called in the third period, the Blues finished the night 1/4 on the power play, while the Bruins went 0/2.

Midway through the final frame, Tarasenko (28) buried the puck for an insurance goal– giving the Blues a, 4-2, lead after St. Louis forced another turnover with Reilly left all along to defender in front of his goaltender.

Buchnevich (37) and Krug (28) tallied the assists on Tarasenko’s second goal of the game at 9:27 of the third period and the Blues had the first and only two-goal lead of the night.

With 2:05 remaining in the game, Cassidy pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker, but it was to no avail.

The final horn sounded and signaled a St. Louis regulation victory, 4-2, despite Boston finishing the night leading in shots on goal, 41-30, including a, 13-4, advantage in the third period alone.

The Bruins left their own ice leading in giveaways (8-6), hits (25-21) and faceoff win% (56-44), while the Blues took home two points in the standings, as well as the final advantage in blocked shots (15-8).

The win extended St. Louis’ current winning streak to six games, while Boston has now dropped three out of their last four games.

The B’s dropped to 12-15-3 (7-8-1 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal, 25-4-1 (12-2-0 at home) when leading after one and 4-17-2 (3-10-1 at home) when trailing after two periods this season.

The Blues, meanwhile, improved to 26-8-5 (11-4-3 on the road) when scoring first, 7-10-4 (3-6-2 on the road) when trailing after the first period and 31-3-3 (13-2-2 on the road) when leading after the second period in 2021-22.

Boston hosts the Ottawa Senators on Thursday before the Pittsburgh Penguins pay their last visit of the regular season to TD Garden Saturday afternoon.

The Bruins travel to St. Louis next Tuesday and Pittsburgh next Thursday before returning home to host the New York Rangers next Saturday (April 23rd) in a game that will be broadcast across the United States on ABC.

By Nick Lanciani

Three years in live sports production (TV/radio), a degree in communication, a minor in sport management and yet I paint things in my spare time to distract myself from my unemployment. Anyway, I write stuff on Down the Frozen River, make/appear on podcasts, used to write stuff for Couch Guy Sports and still apply to jobs for a living.