– Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images
A second period goal by Jaden Schwartz and 40-save performance by Brian Elliott helped the Blues to a 2-1 win against the Florida Panthers in shootout.
Schwartz’s goal was his 20th of the season and Schwartz is the second player on the Blues to reach the 20-goal mark this season.
In net, Elliott recorded his highest save total since Dec. 30 when he stopped 44 shots against Detroit. Elliott turned aside 40 of 41 shots faced against the Panthers including 20 saves in the third period.
The win gives St. Louis three straight W’s and improves its record to 37-15-4 keeping the Blues in second place in the Central Division
In the first period, St. Louis got off to a hot start outshooting Florida 14-7.
An opportunity for David Backes off a rebound from the point did not get past Roberto Luongo to help keep the score tied with 17:23 remaining in the first period.
Backes had another quality opportunity late in the period in the offensive zone to the right of Luongo. Backes fired a shot through a screen, but again Luongo was there to make the save to keep the score tied at zero.
Despite being outshot in the second period, St. Louis struck first.
Vladamir Tarasenko sent a centering pass to Schwartz in front of the net but was unable to get a handle on the pass. Jori Lehtera corralled the puck and circled behind the net in the attacking zone before passing it back to Schwartz. This time Schwartz capitalized to give the Blues a 1-0 lead with 9:12 remaining in the second period.
Elliott turned away all 11 shots by Florida in the period to keep the score 1-0 in favor of the road team headed into the second intermission.
Elliott was nearly flawless in the final period of regulation as he turned aside 20 shots by the Panthers. But, the Panthers finally got on the board with 1:15 remaining in regulation as Nick Bjugstad scored off the assist from Aaron Ekblad and Brian Campbell to tie the game headed into overtime.
Bjugstad has now scored in both games against this Blues this season.
With under two minutes remaining in overtime, Oshie carried the puck in on a two-on-one with Patrik Berglund. Oshie’s pass was broken up, but Tarasenko was there to pick up the puck. Luongo stopped Tarasenko’s shot from the high slot to keep the score tied through overtime.
In his first round of shootout, Oshie hit the crossbar and Elliott turned aside Florida’s attempt.
Tarasenko rocketed a wrist shot past Luongo low to the stick side in the second round to put the Blues out in front.
Former Blues player Brad Boyes fired a shot past Elliott in the second round to knot things back up.
After a miss by Steen, Elliott came far out from his crease to block the attempt by Johnathan Huberdeau to keep the Blues alive.
In the fifth round, Lehtera carried the puck with speed and slid the puck under Luongo’s pad in his first shootout of his career to give the Blues the win after Elliott turned aside another attempt by the Panthers.
The Blues are back home for four-game home stand beginning against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. CT.