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Tarasenko helps rally Blues past Predators

The SportsXchange

ST. LOUIS -- After goalie Brian Elliott surrendered a goal to defenseman Roman Josi that put the Nashville Predators ahead of the St. Louis Blues in the third period on Saturday night, right winger Vladimir Tarasenko skated up toElliott as he came onto the ice for the next shift.

Tarasenko wanted to reassure Elliott that the game was not over.

"I just told him, 'We'll get it back,'" Tarasenko said. "We play for each other. On our team, when somebody makes a mistake, we just try to help each other. That's why I go and told him we can get it back."

It only took Tarasenko 16 seconds to make that statement come true, getting the goal that tied the score at 3, but it took a little while longer before his goal in the fourth round of the shootout delivered a 4-3 victory for the Blues.

"We wanted to come out with a good shift after that (goal)," said Derek Roy, who likely will center the line of Tarasenko and left winger Jaden Schwartz with Vladimir Sobotka injured. "All three of us were eager. We needed a good shift to bounce back after that after that goal for Ells (Elliott) and it's good we stepped up. We've got to keep doing that."

Tarasenko's goal, his 18th of the year, tied the score 7:49 into the third period and it remained deadlocked through the rest of regulation and overtime.

Right winger T.J. Oshie scored in the first round of the shootout and Nashville defenseman Ryan Ellis tied it in the second round before Tarasenko scored the winning goal, using a move on goalie Carter Hutton that his father taught him in Russia.

"That was a set play that my father taught me," Tarasenko said. "If you do it right, it's probably hard to catch it. ... I just tried to make it through."

Roy has been impressed with Tarasenko's improvement in his second NHL season.

"I think he gets better every game," Roy said. "He's eager to learn and he wants to play well -- those are good qualities in a player. He's going out and pretty much scored that (the tying) goal on his own. We just have to keep working as a line and good things will happen."

Elliott followed the goal by stopping a shot from defenseman Mattias Ekholm to clinch the victory, which raised the Blues' record in shootouts to 6-2 this season. Nashville has won only once in eight games decided in a shootout.

Still, the Predators were happy with earning one point in a game where they trailed 2-0 early in the second period and 2-1 going into the third period.

"We're fighting for our lives here," said center Mike Fisher, who scored the Predators' first goal. "Two (points) would have been awesome. but against a good team like this sometimes that's the way it goes and we'll take one."

Predators coach Barry Trotz agreed.

"I thought it was a great point for us," Trotz said. "You're down to the St. Louis Blues 2-0 and it's a real hard rink to come into. They come at you hard. I thought as the game went on we got better and better. We had couple of good chances at the end."

The Blues had built the 2-0 lead on a first-period power-play goal from left winger Jaden Schwartz and a goal by center David Backes early in the second period. Turnovers by the Blues led to two of the Nashville goals the first by center Paul Gaustad and Josi's game-tying score.

NOTES: The Blues placed C Vladimir Sobotka on injured reserve on Saturday. He is expected to miss at least four weeks because of an injury to his left leg sustained in the final minutes of Friday night's loss at Carolina. The injury will keep Sobotka out of the Olympics, where he was to play for the Czech Republic. ... Nashville recalled C Simon Moser from Milwaukee of the AHL on Saturday and the 24-year-old was in the lineup against the Blues, making his NHL debut and becoming the ninth rookie to play for the Predators this season. ... C David Backes played in his 543rd game for the Blues, tying Keith Tkachuk for 12th place on the team's all-time list for games played. ... The Blues will host Ottawa on Tuesday night and Nashville is off until Thursday, when the Predators will play at Minnesota.
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