KEN POWTAK, Associated Press
BOSTON (AP) — The St. Louis Blues were still smarting when they got to Boston after blowing a three-goal lead a night earlier. They didn’t want to have to think about that during the extended holiday break.
Jake Allen stopped 32 shots for his fifth shutout, Vladimir Tarasenko and Robby Fabbri scored third-period goals and the Blues rebounded by cooling off the Bruins with a 2-0 victory Tuesday night.
“It always fun to go win before the holidays and go have a little egg nog with a smile on your face,” Blues wing Ryan Reaves said. “Especially after yesterday’s loss, you definitely don’t want to go into the holidays thinking about that.”
The Blues lost 4-3 in Philadelphia on Monday night. They stuck to their system and beat Boston to head into a three-day Christmas break with a victory before they have a home-and-home set with Dallas — the Western Conference’s top team.
“I felt pretty good last night even though we lost. I wanted to carry that momentum into tonight,” said Allen, who made 27 stops on Monday. “It was a good road game (tonight) — two teams with similar skills. Last night, we were all-in for like 18 minutes, then let the foot off. Tonight it was a full 60.”
It was only the second regulation loss in 16 games for Boston (11-2-3). St. Louis posted its fifth win in seven games.
The Bruins had won six of their last eight at home, and center Patrice Bergeron said they could learn from this loss.
“We’ve taken a lot of strides forward and we definitely have to build on that and realize what we’ve done,” he said. “It’s not a bad thing. We definitely needed to be a lot better around the net tonight and we didn’t do that.”
Boston goalie Tuukka Rask made 27 saves, but lost in regulation for the first time in 11 starts after going 8-0-2.
“Well, I mean, measuring stick — we were playing a pretty good team and we could see how we fared against some of those teams,” Boston coach Claude Julien said. “I thought for two periods we were fine. At the end of the night, I think the biggest thing was that we didn’t, I didn’t think we worked hard enough to get on the inside.”
Tarasenko took a pass and came charging down the slot before slipping a wrister past Rask’s blocker for his team-leading 22nd goal to make it 1-0 at 7:35 of the third. It extended his point streak to a season-high seven games, with six goals and five assists during that span.
Fabbri snapped off a shot from the left circle that beat Rask inside the far upper corner with just more than 7 minutes to play.
St. Louis had the only power play in a well-played, clean game that featured one third-period fight.
Despite the scoreless opening two periods, both teams had some very good scoring chances — with the best coming off the game’s opening faceoff.
The Blues had the opportunity in the opening half-minute when Troy Brouwer split two defensemen, broke in alone and fired a wrister that Rask blocked with his left arm.
St. Louis wing Alexander Steen fired a shot that caromed directly off the right post midway into the second before Allen made a stellar stop on Brad Marchand’s backhander about 4 minutes later.
Marchand collected a rebound at the bottom of the right circle, but Allen came sliding across quickly to make the save.
The Bruins owned a 26-21 edge in shots on goal over the first two periods, which featured a good amount of end-to-end play. But solid defensive positioning by both teams led to few second chances.
NOTES: Allen tied a Blues rookie record with four shutouts last season. … RW Jordan Caron, a former Bruin, was called up from the AHL’s Chicago Wolves on Sunday and made his Blues debut Tuesday. … Boston entered averaging 3.19 goals per game, second in the NHL behind Dallas’ 3.42. … St. Louis finished its sixth set of back-to-back games. The Blues are 3-3 on the second night. … Steen blocked a slap shot and skated slowly to the bench in the second, but didn’t miss any ice time. … Scotty Bowman, senior adviser of hockey operations for the Chicago Blackhawks, was in the press box.
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