By NICOLE KRAFT, Associated Press
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The St. Louis Blues got things going early and put an end to the Columbus Blue Jackets’ 10-game winning streak with a big victory over their own.
Jake Allen made 33 saves, Alexander Steen scored on St. Louis’ first shot of the game, and the Blues beat the Blue Jackets 2-1 on Saturday night.
“It was a huge win for us, especially when Colorado wins this afternoon,” Allen said. “Points are crucial right now. Let’s just take it one step at a time. And we will figure out the standings at the end.”
St. Louis has 89 points — one behind Colorado, which beat Vegas 2-1 in a shootout, and three behind Minnesota, which defeated Nashville 4-1.
“Approaching every game like the season is on the line,” Blues coach Mike Yeo said. “The challenge for us now is to make sure that doesn’t change. I am very pleased and very proud of the group. There is an awful lot of character inside our locker room, and I love that it’s on full display right now.”
Vladimir Tarasenko also scored for St. Louis, which has won five in row. The Blues have also won four straight games on the road and earned points in four of their last five away from home.
The win was Allen’s 26th of the season and seventh in his last eight games. Allen leads the NHL with 10 shutouts on the road since the start of the 2014-’15 season.
Sergei Bobrovsky, who gave up two goals on 28 shots, lost for the first time since March 2. Cam Atkinson had the lone goal for the Blue Jackets, and appeared to have scored another earlier in the game but had it waved off.
“We had enough chances. We just couldn’t beat them,” Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. “I thought we played a good game. We had ample opportunities. We just couldn’t beat the goalie.”
Steen got the Blues on the scoreboard at the game’s 3-minute mark, taking Patrick Berglund’s pass from behind the net and slipping the puck past Bobrovsky from the right circle. The goal was Steen’s 15th and kept alive his four-game point streak.
The Jackets appeared to tie it just 25 seconds later, but Atkinson’s goal was waved off for a kicking motion.
Tarasenko made it 2-0 by skating between the circles and firing a wrist shot through a pair of Blue Jackets at 9:37 of the second period for his team-leading 29th of the season. Assists went to Brayden Schenn — his team-leading 38th — and Jaden Schwartz. Tarasenko now has eight points in his last five games and scored for the second straight contest, after missing two games with an upper-body injury.
Atkinson extended his point streak to four games at 14:32 of the second period, skating the length of ice and wristing a shot from just above the circles past Allen on the left side for his 19th goal of the season.
But the night belonged to Allen and the Blues, who played, according to Yeo, with “complete desperation.”
NOTES: With the win, the Blues completed the second of four sets of back-to-back games on successive weekends to close the regular season. … Blue Jackets forward Lukas Sedlak was scratched after being struck by a puck in the back of the head Thursday against the Florida Panthers. … The Blues’ Carl Gunnarsson will miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL in his left knee. It marked the 33 time this season the Blues have won after scoring first.
Blues: at home against San Jose on Tuesday.
Blue Jackets: visit Edmonton on Tuesday.
© 2018, Forrest Church. All rights reserved.