By Tom Timmermann St. Louis Post-Dispatch
‘It ended up in the net. I don’t even know who scored it. It’s a tough one to take’
On a night that featured the top two point-scorers in the NHL on the same ice, it’s not surprising their fingerprints were all over the game.
Edmonton’s Connor McDavid, the whiz kid who leads the NHL with 39 points (12 goals, 27 assists) and the Blues’ Vladimir Tarasenko, who’s slightly less kid but just as much of a whiz, and is second with 37 points (15 goals, 22 assists coming into the night) were the names in lights for this one,
Tarasenko scored the kind of goal players like him seem to score and McDavid set up Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for the game-winner in overtime as the Blues lost 3-2 in overtime on Monday night at Scottrade Centre.
The Oilers had a three-on-two after Robby Fabbri was slow to get up after crashing into the end boards. He got up and headed slowly to the bench, where Jori Lehtera jumped over the boards to catch up with the play.
But the Oilers had the man advantage on the other end and Nugent-Hopkins beat Blues goalie Carter Hutton from the slot with 2:55 gone in the extra period.
It was an unsuccessful homestand for the Blues, who went 1-1-1 in the three games and now head out for two games before Christmas on the road, where they haven’t been anywhere near as good.
It was Hutton’s first start since December 3 and he stopped 31 of 33 shots he faced in regulation and got his biggest sigh of relief from a save he didn’t make it.
With 38 seconds to go, Hutton went to clear a puck and put it right on the stick of Milan Lucic near the Blues bench.
The fact that Lucic plays for Edmonton made this a non-preferred play. Hutton was behind the net at the time and had to scramble to get back into position, and Lucic somehow shot wide with a gaping net in front of him.
“It ended up in the net,’’ Hutton said. “I don’t even know who scored it. It’s a tough one to take. I thought I’ve played pretty well since the start of the year but I’m not putting up ‘Ws’. It’s tough.’’
The Blues got their first goal from Kyle Brodziak, who is about as far from McDavid and Tarasenko as you could find.
He snatched the puck off the stick of Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as he was about to exit his defensive zone, came in alone on goalie Cam Talbot and beat him to short side for his second goal in as many games.
It was his third goal in seven games after he scored two in his first 25 games.
That gave Hutton the lead, which is something he hasn’t seen a lot of lately. In his previous five stats, Hutton had been up a goal for just 19 minutes, 27 seconds over five games, or about one period out of 15.
In three of those five games, Hutton never had a lead, even though he won one of them, on a Tarasenko goal in overtime.
The lead lasted about seven minutes. Leon Draisaitl won a faceoff in the Blues end, Tyler Pitlick got the puck, skated across the circle, and fired.
The tie lasted even shorter. Robby Fabbri took the puck up ice and shot, with Talbot directing the rebound away to the far right corner.
That’s usually not a bad idea, but in this case, Tarasenko chased down the puck and from an angle where one couldn’t reasonably expect to score, he did just that. It was the third goal in five games for Tarasenko and gave him 10 points in his past six. It was the 16th goal of the season for Tarasenko, tying him for fourth in the league.
Edmonton controlled the second period, outshooting the Blues 15-6, but Hutton was always on the spot to make the save. But he couldn’t do it forever. In the third period, local guy Pat Maroon planted himself in front of the Blues’ goal, fought off Carl Gunnarsson and tipped in a shot from the point by Brandon Davidson to tie it with 14:13 to go in the third.
It was Maroon’s first goal in nine games against his hometown team.
Then it was up to Hutton. He had to stare down a McDavid breakaway, and the Oiler put a backhander wide (possibly with a little help from Alex Pietrangelo’s stick) with 10:39 to go in the period.
About two minutes later, Hutton had to quickly jump to the backside to make a quick save on Draisaitl.
The Blues got a power play in the third period, their first since the third period of the New Jersey game on Thursday, more than two full games ago. But they didn’t score on it and didn’t even get a shot on goal.
Predators 2 Flyers 1
Ducks 3 Maple Leafs 2
Flames 4 Coyotes 2
Oilers 3 Blues 2 (OT)
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