The night began in Vancouver Tuesday with the microphone shorting out on St. Louis-born Jim Byrnes. The fans at Rogers Arena finished off the “Star Spangled Banner,” followed by “Oh Canada,” before the puck dropped between the St. Louis Blues and Vancouver Canucks.
In the first of a three-game road trip through Western Canada, the offense then shorted out on the Blues. A team that had netted 11 goals in a 3-0 start came up with just one Tuesday from Vladimir Tarasenko. It looked like that would be enough, but Vancouver scored with 2 minutes, 55 seconds remaining in regulation, sending the game to overtime, and then Henrik Sedin finished off the Blues in overtime.
Sedin’s goal just 1:40 into the 3-on-3 OT provided Vancouver with a 2-1 win over the Blues, improving the Canucks to 3-0 on the season. They have rallied to win all three games, trailing at the second intermission, something the team did only three times all of last season.
To put this in even more perspective, the Blues were on the verge of shutting out Vancouver for the third consecutive game, but after going 177:34 without a goal, the Canucks scored twice in 4:35. It cost the Blues their second 4-0 start in franchise history, dropping them to 3-0-1 before heading to Edmonton Thursday.
The Blues were about to leave Vancouver with the win Tuesday, but late in regulation, Canucks defenseman Erik Gudbranson released a big shot from the point. Jake Allen made the save, but center Bo Horvat was on the doorstep to knock in the rebound for a 1-1 score with 2:55 left. Then in OT, Sedin finished off another play on Allen’s doorstep, this time ending the evening.
Vancouver outshot the Blues 26-24 and the teams were a combined zero for seven on the power play.
The Blues were missing all three players that left Saturday’s game against the New York Rangers with upper-body injuries. Center Jori Lehtera didn’t make the trip to Vancouver, and while center Kyle Brodziak and defenseman Carl Gunnarsson did travel, they did not suit up Tuesday.
Ty Rattie took Lehtera’s spot in the lineup and went into his season debut on a line with Paul Stastny and Robby Fabbri, while Dmitrij Jaskin stepped into Brodziak’s role on the fourth line. That prime-time assignment didn’t last long for Rattie, who found himself strapped to the bench at the end of the period and on a different line in the second period.
The first period was scoreless, but only after an official review negated a would-be Vancouver goal. The Blues carried a shutout streak of 120:29 into the game and that appeared to be over just 6:10 into the game when a puck went in off the skate of the Canucks’ Luca Sbisa. Allen signaled his thoughts to officials, kicking his leg in the air after the goal, and following a video review, they agreed that it was a distinct kicking motion.
Vancouver had three power plays in the first period, and a Blues’ penalty-killing unit missing both Brodziak and Lehtera erased them all, including one that carried over into the second period. The Canucks couldn’t convert on the man-advantage, but they began applying more pressure.
Horvat got through the Blues’ defense and hit the post, and a minute later Allen had to swallow up a shot by Daniel Sedin to keep the game scoreless.
The Blues, meanwhile, changed up their line combinations early in the second period. Rattie lasted only a handful of shifts before Ken Hitchcock swapped him with Nail Yakupov, placing the newcomer with Stastny and Fabbri and slipping Rattie down the lineup with Magnus Paajarvi and Patrik Berglund.
The Blues’ offensive spark, though, would come from a save by Allen. Henrik Sedin got behind the defense, but Allen turned him away. Seconds later, Alexander Steen sprung teammate Tarasenko on a 2-on-1 with Scottie Upshall the other way. Tarasenko took one look toward Upshall and then ripped a shot past Vancouver goalie Jacob Markstrom.
Markstrom got the surprise start in place of former Blue Ryan Miller, who arrived at Rogers Arena Tuesday with “stiffness,” according to the Canucks. They had to bring in a goalie from a local university to be the emergency backup.
That Tarasenko had the first goal of the game came as no surprise. His fourth of the season, tying him for the NHL lead with three other players, handed the Blues a 1-0 lead with 9:37 left in the second period.
The game stayed that way until late in the third period, when things started to short out for the Blues.