UNIONDALE, N.Y. – This was one point the St. Louis Blues couldn’t let slip away.
Fighting to get back into the Western Conference playoff race, the surging Blues found themselves in a shootout with the slumping New York Islanders. Then T.J. Oshie, Brad Boyes and goalie Chris Mason took care of business.
Oshie and Boyes scored on the Blues’ only attempts in the tiebreaker, and Mason made two saves to lift St. Louis to a 2-1 victory over the Islanders on Thursday night. Oshie improved to .500 on career shootout tries (7 for 14).
“I’ve been in quite a few over the last couple of years, so the nerves kind of went away this year after the first couple,” Oshie said. “I just went out there confident and went to one of my go-to moves.”
St. Louis won for the sixth time in seven games and moved into 10th place in the West by improving to 3-1 on a six-game trip. The Blues, six points off the playoff pace, leapfrogged idle Dallas with 16 games remaining.
Patrik Berglund scored the tying goal for the Blues in the second period after Matt Moulson staked New York to the lead in the closing seconds of the first. St. Louis had chances to win in regulation, but failed to convert on three power plays in the third, including one that carried 20 seconds into overtime.
The Blues then killed Barret Jackman’s boarding penalty in the extra session. St. Louis fought off four of five short-handed situations, balancing out its 1 for 6 effort with the man advantage.
“For a while we were the ones parading off to the box,” Islanders coach Scott Gordon said. “The guys did a good job killing.”
Mason, playing in a ninth straight game, stopped 29 Islanders shots. New York backup Martin Biron made 35 saves in his fourth outing in nine games.
Mason turned aside Frans Nielsen and Moulson in the shootout.
“We needed that point. It was big,” Mason said. “With the teams winning around us, we have to keep pace.”
New York dropped its fourth straight following an impressive win over Chicago after the Olympic break. The Islanders, who finished with the NHL’s worst record last season, have fallen to 14th place in the Eastern Conference after a promising start. They are only five points ahead of last-place Toronto, which will visit Long Island on Sunday, with 15 games to go.
The Islanders are 11 points behind eighth-place Boston.
“They’re in a playoff battle that’s really tight over there,” Biron said of the Blues, “and we were right there.”
The Blues came off a 7-3 loss on Saturday at Colorado that snapped their season-best, five-game winning streak and at least temporarily slowed a desperate playoff push. St. Louis is 19-10-4 on the road this season, its most away wins since earning 27 in the 1999-2000 season.
“We’re confident on the road,” Oshie said. “We’ve had some success over the season and we’re confident. That’s what you need going into games.”
The Islanders mustered very little offence in the first, but finished the frame with the lead on Moulson’s goal with 9.4 seconds left.
While Matt D’Agostini was off for roughing, Mark Streit flipped a pass from the left point into the slot to Moulson, who one-timed a changeup of a shot that seemed to fool Mason. Moulson’s team-leading 24th goal, scored on New York’s sixth shot, came with about 3 seconds left in the power play.
“We didn’t come out to the good start we wanted,” Oshie said. “We didn’t have four lines rolling until the third period. Once that happened, we started playing better.”
The Blues shook off the rust that built up since their previous game on Saturday and got even with Berglund’s power-play goal 6:24 into the second. Andy McDonnell let go a shot that Berglund deftly deflected in the slot and past Biron for his 11th of the season. Berglund stretched his career-best point streak to six games.
“In certain areas I thought we could have been a bit better, but that happens when you have a few days off,” Mason said.
New York nearly scored a fluke goal in the third when the puck took a funny bounce and caromed in front. Sean Bergenheim faced an open net but fired a shot over the top.
“We had some chances,” Gordon said, “and we didn’t give up a lot.”
NOTES: Berglund has four goals and eight points in his past 11 games. … The Blues didn’t allow a power-play goal in their previous three games (14 for 14) and had killed 29 of 31 advantages on the road before Moulson’s goal. … Islanders C Rob Schremp moved around Nassau Coliseum on crutches two days after sustaining a season-ending knee injury against Philadelphia.