SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) – Each time St. Louis took the lead over the first 2 1/2 periods, Florida came back to tie the score. The Blues then finally put the game away over the last 9 1/2 minutes to get another big win.
Jaden Schwartz had a goal and two assists to lead surging St. Louis to a 6-3 victory over the Panthers on Thursday night. David Perron, Vladimir Tarasenko and Alex Pietrangelo each had a goal and an assist, and Patrick Berglund and Ryan Reaves also scored as the Blues improved to 13-2-2 in their last 17 games.
“I just thought that we did a great job tonight,” St. Louis coach Mike Yeo said. “We wanted a response with our game and part of that was we had to respond many times throughout the course of the game.”
Jake Allen had 29 saves for the Blues, who remained one point ahead of Nashville for third place in the Central Division.
Vincent Trochek, Michael Matheson and Denis Malgin scored for the Panthers, who lost their sixth straight. James Reimer stopped 32 shots.
The teams combined for six goals in a wild third period.
Berglund put the Blues ahead for good when he deflected Jordon Schmaltz’s shot in with 9:23 remaining for his 23rd goal of the season. Pietrangelo made it 5-3 with 6:11 left as he tipped Schwartz’ shot past Reimer for his 14th. It was also Pietrangelo’s 300th career point.
“We actually were playing with some tempo and had the puck moving north in the second half of that second period,” Pietrangelo said. “I thought if we could carry that through the third period we would have a good chance.”
Schwartz capped the scoring with his 19th with 59 seconds to go.
Matheson had pulled Florida even at 2-2 just 55 seconds into the third with a wraparound that bounced off Allen’s pad.
“Obviously, it’s a bit of a frustrating time right now,” he said. “We wish we were in a different situation.”
Perron weaved around two Panthers defenders and knocked in a rebound of his initial shot at 5:36 to put St. Louis back up 3-2.
“Just a little bit of patience, a little bit of poise and I put it in, so that was good,” he said.
Florida tied it for the third time just over two minutes later on Malgin’s blast from the top of the circle off a feed from in deep by Colton Sceviour.
“The guys never gave up, that’s for sure,” Florida coach Tom Rowe said.”Give (the Blues) credit; they threw the puck at us pretty well.”
St. Louis got on the scoreboard first with 7:44 left in the opening period as Reaves took possession near the blue line and fired a one-timer past Reimer for his sixth.
Trochek tied it up for the Panthers 6:41 into the second with a wrister past Allen on a 2-on-1 break. It was Trochek’s 23rd goal of the season first in the last 17 games. He did have 10 assists during that stretch.
“It’s been a tough year. No fun for us,” he said. “(Scoring the goal) was a little weight off my shoulders. It was nice to put one in the back of the net.”
Tarasenko put St. Louis back ahead 56 seconds later as he beat Reimer from in close off a pass from Schwartz through traffic.
St. Louis held a 13-12 advantage over Florida in both the first and second periods. The game ended with St. Louis outshooting Florida 38-32.
NOTES: St. Louis D Carl Gunnarsson returned after missing four games with a lower-body injury. … Allen is 10-2-2 with 24 goals allowed and two shutouts in his last 14 games. … Florida D Keith Yandle moved into eighth place all-time in consecutive games played (631). … Reimer started for the Panthers after missing three games with an upper-body injury. … F Jussi Jokinen joins G Roberto Luongo, C Aleksander Barkov and D Aaron Ekblad on the list of Florida players shut down for the rest of the season because of injuries.
Blues: At Carolina on Saturday.
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