Blues can’t capitalize on strong first period in 5-1 loss to Canucks
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Jacob Markstrom turned in another solid start Thursday night and then moved on.
“There’s another game in two days, that’s what I’m focusing about,” he said.
Markstrom made 29 saves to lead the Vancouver Canucks to a 5-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues.
Bo Horvat and Jake Virtanen each had a goal and an assist for Vancouver (17-17-4), which has won three of four. Adam Gaudette, Josh Leivo and Loui Eriksson also scored.
“Any line can score out there,” Horvat said. “Every line played pretty well, especially after the first period. The first was a little shaky, but after that, everyone was doing the little things to win.”
Vladimir Tarasenko put up the lone goal for St. Louis (13-16-4). Jake Allen stopped 24 shots.
“We’ve got to start scoring, myself included,” forward Tyler Bozak said. “Every goalie in this league is a good goalie, we’ve got to find ways to get it by him. We can’t just always say their goalies had a good game tonight.”
The Blues had 15 shots in the first period, but Markstrom stepped up for the Canucks.
The crowd at Rogers Arena broke into cheers of “Marky! Marky!” after the goaltender stopped a hard shot by Bozak during a Blues power play 17 minutes into the game.
“It definitely wasn’t the prettiest first from us by any means. But Marky came up huge for us and made some unbelievable saves,” Horvat said.
“It’s great that we came back out and got ready to play in the second period there. And I think that’s when our game changed.”
Markstrom improved to 6-0 in six December starts. He has a .942 save percentage over that stretch.
“It’s nice to get a win but you know, we lost consecutive games before this. So we owe it to the team,” he said.
Vancouver jumped in front midway through the second after Blues forward David Perron was called for tripping.
Elias Pettersson sliced a beautiful pass to Horvat in front of the St. Louis net. He got a snap shot off for the power-play goal before Allen could get all the way across the crease.
Just 28 seconds later, some hard work by Gaudette paid off. The center crashed the net, collected his own rebound and poked it in.
“That’s just the type of game I play,” the 22-year-old Gaudette said. “I’m pretty big on second and third efforts. The puck squirted loose and I thought I could get a stick on it so I just kept hacking at it.”
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St. Louis challenged the play for goaltender interference, but Gaudette’s second career goal remained in place after a video review.
The Blues knew the Canucks would be fired up coming into the second period, said St. Louis coach Craig Berube.
“We just kind of dug ourselves a hole,” he said.
“Couldn’t find the back of the net enough. Their goalie kept them in the first period, made some big saves for them, and it was a different game if we get a goal.”
Vancouver outshot St. Louis 14-3 in the second period and carried the momentum into the third.
Just over two minutes in, Leivo took a shot from behind the Blues’ goal-line. The puck hit Allen’s left shoulder and ricocheted into the net, putting the Canucks up 3-0.
Tarasenko answered for St. Louis, holding several Vancouver players off and shoveling a shot past Markstrom.
Virtanen added some insurance for the Canucks with 8:36 left, using a series of screens by his teammates to keep Allen from getting a full view of his heavy shot.
NOTES: Virtanen now has a career-high 11 goals this season. He also got an assist when Eriksson scored into an empty net after Allen was pulled with five minutes left.
Blues: Visit Calgary on Saturday.
Canucks : Wrap up a five-game homestand when they host Winnipeg on Saturday night.