J.T. Miller #9 of the Vancouver Canucks faces-off against Brayden Schenn #10 of the St. Louis Blues at the Enterprise Center on March 28, 2023 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Joe Puetz/NHLI via Getty Images)
by Lou Korac / NHL.com Independent Correspondent
March 28, 2023
ST. LOUIS — Jakub Vrana scored twice, including 28 seconds into overtime, and the St. Louis Blues recovered for a 6-5 win against the Vancouver Canucks at Enterprise Center on Tuesday.
Vrana carried the puck into the offensive zone and dropped it to Brayden Schenn before receiving a centering pass in return from the right face-off circle.
“I think overall that was just an amazing play by Brayden,” Vrana said. “He made a great move there, obviously pass it to me right where I was standing, which was perfect to just shoot the puck there. So, great play by him.”
Vrana has eight goals in 12 games with St. Louis since being acquired from the Detroit Red Wings on March 3.
“I think I built a lot of speed there,” Vrana said. “I saw that the [defense] was a little bit flat-footed, try to go around him. I was hoping for [Schenn] to do that move. And he did it, so it worked well.”
Justin Faulk had a goal and two assists, Pavel Buchnevich had a goal and an assist, and Jordan Binnington made 32 saves for the Blues (34-34-6), who have won three of four and are 5-1-1 their past seven games.
“We played a pretty solid game, but in the end, we gave up way too many goals,” St. Louis coach Craig Berube said. ” … We got offense from a lot of guys tonight, which is good.”
Quinn Hughes had two goals and an assist, Andrei Kuzmenko scored twice, and Brock Boeser had a goal and two assists for the Canucks (34-34-6), who had won three straight and 10 of 12. Thatcher Demko made 25 saves.
“We battled hard,” Vancouver coach Rick Tocchet said. “There’s a bunch of guys who really battled hard for us there in the third period. I went to three lines and got us back in the game.”
Kuzmenko cut it to 5-4 at 12:18 of the third period after receiving a spinning pass from Elias Pettersson, and Hughes tied it 5-5 at 19:06 when his point shot went in off the skate of Marco Scandella during a 6-on-5.
“I think in the third, we got a little too passive, gave up too many opportunities,” said Blues forward Brandon Saad, who had two assists. “They have a lot of skill and can score goals. Obviously, [we] want to tighten that up. Regardless, we’re happy to get the win.”
Hughes gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 6:06 of the first period, finishing into an open net from the right circle on a rebound.
Alexey Toropchenko tied it 1-1 at 11:50. After he intercepted a pass by Guillaume Brisebois intended for J.T. Miller at the Canucks’ blue line, he kept the puck and scored glove side on a 2-on-1 from the left circle.
“‘Torpo’ scored a nice goal,” Berube said. “That line [Toropchenko, Nathan Walker and Tyler Pitlick] was good for us.”
Faulk gave St. Louis a 2-1 lead at 16:48, scoring short side on a one-timer from the left circle.
“Our [defensive] zone coverage early wasn’t good, obviously,” Tocchet said.
Kuzmemko tied it 2-2 at 19:41 on a power play when he redirected a centering pass from Miller.
Vrana restored the Blues’ lead to 3-2 at 7:24 of the second period. After Nick Leddy forced a turnover by Boeser along the boards, Saad passed the puck to Vrana for a one-timer from the high slot.
Robert Thomas and Buchnevich then scored 1:28 apart to give St. Louis a three-goal lead. Thomas scored a power-play goal from the top of the right circle to make it 4-2 at 12:08 before Buchnevich got behind the defense and redirected a saucer pass from Kasperi Kapanen at 13:36 to make it 5-2.
Boeser cut it to 5-3 at 18:28 when he redirected a point shot by Hughes on a power play.
“It was not our best, but we gave ourselves a chance and got back in it,” Hughes said. “I don’t think we played that well in the first [period], to be honest. We didn’t really play that well in the second either. We made some plays in the third.”
NOTES: Pettersson had two assists to extend his NHL career-high point streak to 13 games (seven goals, 12 assists). … Faulk has three consecutive multipoint games (two goals, five assists). … Miller had two assists to extend his assist and point streaks to seven games each (four goals, nine assists). … Blues forward Sammy Blais (two goals, five assists) and Schenn (three goals, four assists) each extended his point streak to five games. … Kuzmenko has 68 points (37 goals, 31 assists) in 73 games, passing Pettersson for the most points by a Canucks player in his first NHL season (66 in 2018-19).