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(Saturday, February 8th)
Final Score: St. Louis 4, Winnipeg 3 (SO)
St. Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - Vladimir Tarasenko notched the deciding marker in the shootout, leading St. Louis to a 4-3 victory over Winnipeg at Scottrade Center.
Brenden Morrow and Derek Roy each posted a goal and assist for the Blues, who surged into a first-place tie with Chicago atop the Central Division standings. Both clubs have 84 points, but St. Louis owns the wins tiebreaker 39-35.
"We've got ourselves a pretty good position due to hard work and we're going to have our work cut out for us as soon as we get started again," Morrow noted about the playoff push after the league returns from its Olympic hiatus.
Brian Elliott stopped 28 shots in regulation, then two more in the game's final segment to pick up the win.
Mark Scheifele tallied twice and Dustin Byfuglien once for the Jets, who dropped their final two games before the Olympic break after winning three straight. Al Montoya made 23 saves in defeat.
T.J. Oshie made the most of his chance, the Blues' second opportunity, beating Montoya with a wrist shot. Elliott, who erased a Bryan Little chance to open the shootout, then denied Andrew Ladd. Tarasenko also bested Winnipeg's netminder with a wrister which ended the contest.
The Blues struck first, at 7:39 of the opening period on Morrow's quick wrister from the right circle that nipped the far post before hitting the back of the net.
Winnipeg evened the score just under five minutes later on a Scheifele offering, but the hosts went up 2-1 at 17:38 on Roy's shot. Alex Pietrangelo attempted a dump-in on the right wing, but the puck hit an official in the circle and bounced to Morrow, who fed Roy for an easy score.
Scheifele's second of the game was the lone score of the middle frame, using a Blake Wheeler pass to backhand a shot by Elliott at 10:22.
Jaden Schwartz gave the hosts a 3-2 edge at the 34-second mark of the third, backhanding a Barret Jackman dish home from the slot, but Byfuglien's power- play marker with 6:17 to play sent the contest beyond regulation.
"It's a tough thing losing a hard fought game like that, but we played well. A shootout is a tough way to end it," said Scheifele. "We know we could have won that game. You can't let a team like that get the lead early."
The Blues improved to 15-0-1 against the Central Division and 22-5-3 on home ice this season ... Scheifele posted his second career two-goal effort, having previously done so at Buffalo on Dec. 17 ... Ken Hitchcock recorded his 111th win as St. Louis head coach, passing Scotty Bowman for fourth on the all-time franchise list ... Oshie will be heading to Sochi as a member of Team USA.
02/08 18:30:52 ET
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