Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and two assists, and the St. Louis Blues beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2 on Saturday night.
Ryan O’Reilly added a goal and an assist, Oskar Sundqvist also scored and Brayden Schenn had three assists for St. Louis, playing its first game in 10 days due to the All-Star game and the team’s bye week. Rookie Jordan Binnington took at shutout into the third period, finishing with 18 saves to improve to 6-1-1.
Oliver Bjorkstrand and Pierre-Luc Dubois scored and Artemi Panarin had two assists for the slumping Blue Jackets, who have dropped a season worst five in a row and cling to the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Joonas Korpisalo had 29 saves.
The Blues, eyeing the last Western Conference playoff spot, didn’t show any rust making crisp passes and winning most of the board battles.
They even got a bit fortunate on the first goal as Alex Pietrangelo’s long shot trickled between Korpisalo’s legs to O’Reilly for an easy tap in at 8:28 of the first for his team-leading 19th of the season. The goal extended his point streak to seven games.
Later in the period, the Blues pinned Columbus deep with Schenn slotting a pass to Gunnarsson, who redirected the puck for his third with 45 seconds remaining.
Columbus cut the lead in half early in the third on a one-timer by Bjorkstrand for his ninth from Panarin in the corner. But just 31 seconds later Tarasenko made it 3-1 at 6:49 on his 18th, jamming in another puck in the crease that squeaked through Korpisalo.
Dubois got Columbus to 3-2 on a wrist shot from the left circle for his 19th with 2:37 left with Korpisalo pulled for an extra attacker. Sundqvist ended the Blue Jackets’ comeback bid, scoring into the empty net with 30 seconds remaining.
NOTES: The Blues are 9-4-1 on the road since Nov. 30. … O’Reilly has three goals and seven assists in his last seven games. … Schenn and O’Reilly picked up their 200th and 300th career assists, respectively. … Tarasenko has 10 goals and nine assists in 16 games against Columbus. … The 20 shots for Columbus matched their second lowest output of the season.
Blues: At Florida on Tuesday night.
Blue Jackeets: At Colorado on Tuesday night.