OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice and had an assist, and the St. Louis Blues beat the Ottawa Senators 5-2 on Tuesday night.
Tarasenko’s first goal put the Blues up 2-1 in the second period, and his second was an empty-netter that came with about two minutes left in a game that was well in hand by then. He now has 18 goals this season.
Brayden Schenn, Robert Thomas and Oskar Sundqivst also scored for the Blues, and Ville Husso made 18 saves.
Tim Stutzle and Parker Kelly scored for the Senators. Goalie Matt Murray made 27 saves before he was injured when Sundqvist fell on top of him in the third period. Anton Forsberg came in and stopped four shots.
“The way (the Blues) play in the O-zone, they don’t throw pucks away, they hold on, they grind you,” Senators coach D.J. Smith said. “I mean, we do have lots of guys out, but that’s what we want to be, that’s what you want to look for. Two years ago, they win the Stanley Cup playing that exact style and that’s what you want to do.”
The Senators didn’t give an update on Murray after the game.
Schenn kicked off the scoring with about 7 minutes left in the first period, extending his point streak to five games. Ottawa pulled even when Stutzle scored on the power play, with an assist by Brady Tkachuk, with 3 1/2 minutes left in the first. This was the Senators’ first power-play goal in February as they had gone 0-for-14 to that point.
Tarasenko’s first goal was early in the second period on a power play, followed about three minutes later with a goal from Thomas (assisted by Tarasenko) to put the Blues up 3-1.
Ottawa’s final goal, from Kelly, came at 6:53 into the second period to pull within a goal.
The Senators failed to score on a five-on-three they had for 74 seconds. Tarasenko gave credit to the Blues’ penalty kill
“Everybody played desperate, especially I want to mention Robert Bortuzzo,” Tarasenko said. “It’s unreal when you see a guy try to block a shot with every part of his body. It’s a huge credit to those guys. They might not share some spotlights in the media, but inside the team we know it’s insane and makes us proud of our teammates and makes us work hard.”
Halfway through the third period, the Blues pulled away with Sundqvist’s fourth goal of the season. Tarasenko padded St. Louis’ lead with his empty netter.
“He’s all over the ice,” Thomas said of Tarasenko. “He’s playing the right way defensively, he’s in on the forecheck, he’s always open. He’s a superstar, and when he plays like that, it’s tough for teams to defend.”
LONG TIME COMING
The two teams hadn’t met since Oct. 10, 2019. Tuesday’s game was originally scheduled for Dec. 21 but was postponed when the NHL stopped cross-border games just before the Christmas break.
Blues: At Montreal on Thursday, the second of a four-game trip.
Senators: At Buffalo on Thursday.