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The Globe and Mail

Vladimir Tarasenko continues to shine for Blues

St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko scores the game winning goal past New York Rangers goalie Cam Talbot during a shootout at Madison Square Garden.

Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports

Vladimir Tarasenko scored in the third round of the shootout, and the St. Louis Blues stretched their winning streak to five with a 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers on Monday night.

Tarasenko, who had a goal and an assist in regulation, fired a shot past Cam Talbot to end the game and give the Blues their eighth win in their last nine visits to Madison Square Garden (8-0-1).

The Rangers lost at home in a shootout for the second straight game, following a 1-0 defeat against Winnipeg on Saturday. They are 4-1-2 in their past seven games.

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Alexander Steen also scored in the shootout, and Patrik Berglund and Jay Bouwmeester added goals in regulation for the Blues, who lost a 2-1 lead in the third period before tying it at 3. Brian Elliott made 36 saves.

Martin St. Louis scored the tying and go-ahead goals in the third for the Rangers, who also led 1-0 in the first period on Chris Kreider's third of the season. Talbot stopped 31 shots.

The Rangers earned a point despite a depleted defence corps and a rare start by Talbot, who gave Henrik Lundqvist his second game off this season. On defence, the Rangers were missing captain Ryan McDonagh (separated shoulder), John Moore (suspension) and Kevin Klein (foot). New York was forced to use Michael Kostka and recent call-ups Conor Allen and Dylan McIlrath.

The Blues took their first lead at 3:50 of the third when defenceman Barret Jackman's shot hit Rangers forward Chris Mueller and then bounded in off Berglund for his first of the season.

Soon after, New York was somehow denied after Elliott got out of position. The Blues had four other players in the crease, including David Backes and Jaden Schwartz on the goal line blocking pucks.

The Blues escaped that flurry, but just over a minute later, the Rangers tied it 2-2 on St. Louis' second of the season. Carl Hagelin sent a behind-the-back pass from behind the net to St. Louis, who sneaked behind Elliott and scored inside the right post at 6:28.

New York went ahead at 13:17 when Rick Nash feathered a perfect pass across the Blues zone that eluded defenceman Alex Pietrangelo and landed on St. Louis' stick for his second goal of the night.

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However, the Rangers' lead lasted only 1:16 before Bouwmeester's rising snap shot beat Talbot.

Lee Stempniak scored New York's lone goal in the shootout.

The Blues outshot the Rangers 17-8 in the second and got even at 1 on Tarasenko's seventh goal of the season and sixth in four games.

With St. Louis on its first power play, Tarasenko — the NHL's No. 1 star of last week — gathered the puck near centre ice and streaked into the New York end, eluding defenders seemingly with each stride. He got in on Talbot, quickly moved left to right, shifting from forehand to backhand, and reaching wide to tuck the puck inside the post at 7:18.

Elliott earned his first assist of the season on that goal.

After a sluggish start, the Rangers turned up the pressure on the Blues and locked things down defensively in the first.

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On their first power play, the Rangers used 19-year-old rookie Anthony Duclair at the right point, and the move paid off. New York dug the puck free along the right-wing boards in the St. Louis end back to Duclair at the blue line. He moved the puck to his left to Matt Hunwick, whose shot was deflected into the net by Kreider from the slot at 5:29.

St. Louis had the early 3-2 edge in shots, but the Rangers finished with a 15-4 shots lead. They did it even with McIlrath serving a fighting major in the final five minutes of the period.

NOTES: Blues C Paul Stastny (shoulder) missed his seventh straight game but took park in contact drills Monday morning for the first time since he was injured against Arizona on Oct. 18. RW T.J. Oshie (concussion) sat out his third straight. ... Rangers LW Mats Zuccarello was out because of an undisclosed injury. He was replaced by Ryan Malone, who cleared waivers earlier Monday.

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