1 of 9St. Louis Blues’ Vladimir Tarasenko, center, is congratulated by teammates after scoring against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A trip back to Philadelphia helped fix Blues goalie Jordan Binnington. Playing the skidding Flyers didn’t hurt, either.
Binnington rebounded from three awful starts, making 25 saves, and Vladimir Tarasenko scored the go-ahead goal in the third period to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.
In his last three starts, Binnington went 0-3 while allowing 18 goals. He looked more like the goalie who led the Blues to the Stanley Cup in 2019.
“He played amazing,” Tarasenko said. “I thought he was our best player.”
St. Louis, which was playing in Philadelphia for the first time since Jan. 7, 2019, has won two straight and four of five. Binnington got his first career start on the Blues’ last trip to Philly, a 3-0 shutout in which he made 25 saves. And he was sharp again in the City of Brotherly Love.
“It felt good,” Binnington said. “It (struggling) happens in life. Stuff’s not going to go your way. You have to keep fighting.”
Ivan Barbashev had a goal and an assist, and Brayden Schenn and Brandon Saad also scored for the Blues, who completed a 3-1 road trip. St. Louis avoided losing to two of the NHL’s worst teams in less than a week. The Blues lost 3-2 in overtime last Thursday at Montreal, which snapped the Canadiens’ 10-game losing streak.
“We played some real good hockey on this trip,” St. Louis coach Craig Berube said.
Oskar Lindblom scored for the Flyers, who lost their sixth in a row and 19th in the last 21.
“We’ve played some good hockey,” Flyers captain Claude Giroux said. “Right now it feels like we need to play a perfect game to win. It’s not happening and it’s frustrating.”
Tarasenko notched his team-leading 19th goal to put the Blues up 2-1 with 11:09 remaining, finishing from the slot as he fell to the ice. It also was his 46th point, tops on the Blues.
“Important shift after we give up a goal,” Tarasenko said.
The goal came just 42 seconds after Philadelphia had tied it on Lindblom’s slap shot from the point through a screen.
That was all Binnington allowed. St. Louis’ goalie was solid, if not spectacular, and his best stop might have been a glove save of Max Willman’s chance with 12:03 left in the second period.
“He looked sharp all game,” Berube said.
Schenn opened the scoring 11:50 in when he finished a wild sequence in front of the net for his 15th goal. Jordan Kyrou’s initial shot caromed off the post and went to Barbashev, whose attempt from the middle of the ice was denied with a stellar stick save by Martin Jones. But then Schenn pounced on the rebound. Officials initially ruled the puck didn’t cross the goal line before the decision was reversed after video review.
The Blues outshot Philadelphia 11-7 while controlling the second period. They had several chances to go up more but couldn’t convert. St. Louis’ best opportunities came when Tarasenko’s try caromed off the post two minutes into the period and Ryan O’Reilly was denied from close range by a good save from Jones.
Giroux nearly tied it with 11:38 left in the second, but his slap shot on a 2-on-1 also went off the post.
Barbashev and Saad converted empty-netters in the final minute.