Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Tarasenko Scores OT Winner as Blues Keep Rolling under New Head Coach Mike Yeo

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Tarasenko Scores OT Winner as Blues Keep Rolling under New Head Coach Mike Yeo

Article excerpt

Tarasenko scores OT winner as Blues beat Leafs

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TORONTO - Vladimir Tarasenko strode through the neutral zone, dipped around a Maple Leafs forward, deked out another and then fired a shot past Frederik Andersen to clinch another victory for the suddenly red-hot St. Louis Blues.

The Blues improved to 4-1-0 under new head coach Mike Yeo, beating the Leafs 2-1 in overtime at the Air Canada Centre on Thursday night. St. Louis has allowed only six goals in five games under Yeo -- including one in the last three outings -- with goaltending from Jake Allen primarily taking a big leap forward.

Allen stopped 31-of-32 shots against the Leafs after posting a 30-save shutout two nights earlier.

"I think guys are all just jumping on board, playing hard for each other and doing the little things," the 26-year-old Allen said of the energy around the group since the coaching change which saw Yeo replace Ken Hitchcock last week.

An assistant coach with the club previously, Yeo was due to take over the St. Louis bench next season, getting a head-start when the 65-year-old Hitchcock was dismissed amid a shaky first few months this season. The Blues had the third-best record in the NHL last season and went all the way to the Western Conference final, unable to hit those notes consistently this year.

"I really appreciate the mindset of our players right now," said Yeo, referring to defensive improvements. "We recognized that that was an area of our game that we needed to improve. You can see that the commitment's there as far as how we're blocking shots, how we're paying a price and doing the little things.

"But I'm going to keep saying this: we're not there yet, we've got a lot of work to do."

Among the better defensive clubs in hockey last year, the Blues were surrendering more than three goals per-game at the time of Hitchcock's firing. The worst goaltending in the league -- from Allen and backup Carter Hutton -- was largely to blame, though players have noted an uptick in defensive details along with some strategic tweaks from Yeo, who served as the Minnesota Wild head coach for five seasons previously.

"I think just more commitment, more discipline," said Allen. …

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