St. Louis star forward Vladimir Tarasenko scored 20 seconds into overtime to give the Blues a 2-1 win over the Maple Leafs on Thursday at Air Canada Centre.
The loss by Toronto squandered a chance to gain two points on the strength of a solid outing from goaltender Frederik Andersen. The Leafs’ netminder – who has struggled since the All-Star break – made 38 saves, none more memorable than a glove stop off Colton Parayko in the first period while lying in the goal crease without a stick.
“I thought he was good, I thought he was good for sure. I thought we boxed out better around him and made better plays around him,” coach Mike Babcock said. “I think when you play right your goalie looks way better. In the end it looks like he makes way more big saves but they’re reasonable saves.”
The Leafs gave up the opening goal of the game in the first period after Patrik Berglund finished a dangerous Blues sequence that started with a turnover from Jake Gardiner. The home team had a sluggish first period, generating just four shots on goal while surrendering 17.
There were brief moments of end-to-end action the middle frame, but neither side found the back of the net until Morgan Rielly led a rush, late in the period, down the ice and eventually capitalized on a rebound for his second goal of the year. It was Rielly’s first tally since November 11, ending a 32-game drought.
With just 3.2 seconds left in regulation, Leo Komarov appeared to have won the game for his team, sliding the puck past goaltender Jake Allen, but a seemingly premature whistle by the officials ended the play, forcing overtime.
Toronto’s record slipped to 5-12-6 when giving up the first goal.
Nikita Soshnikov missed the game with an upper body injury. Josh Leivo made his third appearance of the year in place of Soshnikov.