NEW YORK (AP) – The St. Louis Blues are off to a fast start and they have goaltender Jake Allen and top scorer Vladimir Tarasenko to thank for that early success.
Allen made 40 saves on Monday and Tarasenko scored twice and again in the shootout to lift the Blues past the Islanders 3-2 for their third straight victory to start the season.
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Brayden Schenn also scored in the shootout as the Blues managed to win after the Islanders tied it with two third-period goals.
“We have to find ways to keep those leads, but we got the win. It’s a big two points for us,” Allen said. “They pressed hard, they have a good offensive team. They have four lines that are skilled.”
Andrew Ladd and Anders Lee had scored for the Islanders in the third to send the game into overtime, Lee’s goal coming at the 19-minute mark.
“We know we have to be better. We want to get two points every night,” said Lee, who scored his first goal of the season after leading the Islanders with 34 goals last season. “I thought we played a decent game. We were able to battle back and get a point.”
Tarasenko’s pair of goals came in the second period for the Blues, who were seemingly in control until Ladd scored for the home team at 13:04 of the third period to ruin Allen’s shutout bid. Tarasenko said he was happy to contribute multiple times during the game.
“I try to get open and create space,” said the 25-year-old Russian forward, who has three goals this season. “It’s really good that we got a win.”
Allen denied Jordan Eberle and Anthony Beauvillier in the shootout to preserve the win after he made three saves in overtime.
“He was awesome. He really looks like he’s in form,” Blues coach Mike Yeo said of his goaltender. “His last two starts have been outstanding.”
Tarasenko opened the scoring at 9:38 of the middle period after he spun past Eberle, then beat Thomas Greiss with a nifty backhand. Paul Stastny assisted.
Tarasenko increased the lead with a power-play goal at 15:34 of the second. The talented Russian forward whipped the puck past Greiss, finishing a passing play from Jaden Schwartz and Alex Pietrangelo for his third goal of the season. He led the Blues with 39 goals and 75 points overall last season.
“He’s so powerful,” Yeo said. “All three of his goals were impressive, shootout included.”
St. Louis, which began with an opening-night overtime victory in Pittsburgh followed by a 4-2 home win over Dallas, improved to 7-1-2 in its past 10 games against the Islanders.
Allen, who had a career-best 33 wins last season, has won all three of his starts this season.
The Islanders have lost two of their first three though coach Doug Weight still saw reasons for optimism despite the loss to the Blues.
“They play a face-paced game and Allen played really well,” he said. “We had some good looks. I gave Jake credit and we’ll take the point.”
Following the game, the Islanders departed for a three-game Western trip starting at Anaheim on Wednesday. They also will travel to San Jose and Los Angeles after which they return to play the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Oct. 19.
Tarasenko’s first goal of the game came shortly after the Islanders squandered a four-minute power-play opportunity earlier, more than a minute of which had them up two skaters.
In the second, Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo was penalized four minutes for cross checking, an extra two minutes being assessed for pummeling Islanders forward Brock Nelson face down on the ice.
Bortuzzo was fined $3,091.40 for the cross-check, the NHL announced after the game.
After Josh Ho-Sang was denied on a right pad save by Allen, Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson was assessed a slashing penalty, giving the Islanders a two-man advantage. But they failed to capitalize and were 0 for 6 overall on the power play.
“The power play is a bit overwhelmed,” Weight added. “It’s a big point, good fight back we had.”
Greiss was victimized for five goals in the Islanders’ season-opening 5-0 loss at Columbus before he was replaced midway through by Jaroslav Halak, who earned the victory in the team’s 6-3 home-opening win over the Buffalo Sabres.
NOTES: The Islanders visit the Blues on Nov. 11 to complete the season series . The Blues continued to be without injured forward Alex Steen and defenseman Jay Bouwmeester. … Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck missed his second straight game with a hip injury. … Defensemen Dennis Seidenberg and Ryan Pulock were scratched by the Islanders.
Blues: At New York Rangers on Tuesday night.
Islanders: At Anaheim on Wednesday night.