NEWARK, N.J. — Vladimir Tarasenko is on one of those streaks where any time the St. Louis Blues forward is on the ice, the puck seems to find him in scoring position.
After being stopped on a first-period breakaway and hitting a goal post in the second, Tarasenko scored a power-play goal early in the third period and the Blues extended their winning streak to six games with a 1-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Nov. 4.
“Vladdy is on a hot streak right now and he’s proving to everyone how good of a player he can be,” said Blues goaltender Jake Allen, who stopped 26 shots in earning his second straight shutout and ending the Devils’ two-game winning streak. “He is definitely leading this team right now.”
The NHL’s No. 1 star last week, Tarasenko has seven goals in last five games and the deciding tally for two straight games. He netted the clinching shootout goal against the New York Rangers on Nov. 3.
“He came through for us,” St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said. “I know he felt badly that he missed those chances early on, but he stuck with it and got the goal. That’s a goal scorer’s goal.”
His blast from the right circle at 4:55 was the difference against the Devils. Tarasenko netted his eighth goal of the season just 17 seconds after Devils defenseman Marek Zidlicky was whistled for holding Alexander Steen in the crease.
Steen barely kept the puck in the New Jersey zone after the faceoff, and then Tarasenko and Jori Lehtera exchanged a couple of passes before the Russian ripped a shot past Cory Schneider, the only one of 23 he didn’t stop.
“It’s a save I’d like to make for sure,” said Schneider, adding the shot beat him on the short side.
Devils coach Pete DeBoer wasn’t surprised Tarasenko got the goal. He had three shots in the game and five overall, with two just missing the net.
“I looked at the goal and that’s probably the hottest guy in the league,” DeBoer said. “He makes a good play. He has a knack for it and he is on fire lately.”
The Blues’ winning streak is one shy of the NHL-high of seven this season set by Anaheim.
Allen, who shut out Anaheim 2-0 in his last start on Oct. 30, had two good stops on Travis Zajac and one on Adam Henrique in the second period. He got his glove on Michael Ryder’s shot drive in the first, with the puck landing on top of the net.
“It just fluttered and landed on top,” said Ryder, who led the Devils with seven shots.
Allen smiled about the save. “I got my feet tangled up, but I managed to get my glove on it,” he said.
The Devils came into the game with the NHL’s third-best power play, converting at 26.3 percent, but they went 0-for-3.
The Blues also had three chances, and converted the one they needed. The also saw defenseman Ian Cole hit a goal post in the first period.
“It’s not easy to win like this on the road,” said Blues forward Jaden Schwartz, who had the secondary assist on the goal. “Our goal was to come in here and get the points and we did that. You never think one goal is going to win it, but getting the first goal was huge and gave us a lot of confidence.”
(TOM CANAVAN, AP Sports Writer)