LOS ANGELES (AP) — Brayden Schenn’s absence for six games because of an upper-body injury wasn’t the only reason the St. Louis Blues saw a dip following their 11-game winning streak.
However, given how the reunited top line of Schenn, Ryan O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko has performed since the left winger made his return, it’s easy to understand why the Blues are crediting Schenn for the improvement to start their three-game California road trip.
Schenn had two assists to set up goals by Tarasenko and O’Reilly as the St. Louis Blues beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-0 on Thursday night.
Schenn has a goal and three assists in two games since returning from injury. The Blues went 2-3-1 without Schenn, but won back-to-back games against Anaheim and Los Angeles since his return.
“You see how much Schenner means to that line, means to our group,” said Jake Allen, who stopped 28 shots for his 19th career shutout. “I don’t know how many games he missed . we weren’t playing like we did. We’re working our way back, and he just adds so much to our top six.”
Jonathan Quick made 28 saves for the Kings, who have lost 12 of their past 13 games.
The Blues took a 1-0 lead 25 seconds into the second period when Tarasenko scored his 28th goal. Schenn helped the Blues break out on the rush and Tarasenko fired a wrist shot from the far edge of the left circle into the top right corner.
The Schenn, O’Reilly and Tarasenko line has combined for 21 goals and 35 assists in the past 13 games. Schenn has three goals and 14 assists in that span.
“It’s nice having him back, that’s for sure,” O’Reilly said of Schenn. “Getting him gives us a spark. We’re a line that plays a lot of minutes. We have to lead the charge that way. Both Vladdy and Schenner played great tonight.”
Allen said Schenn and O’Reilly are strong blue-collar compliments to the high-scoring Tarasenko, who is on the verge of getting 30 goals for the fifth consecutive season.
“Him and O’Reilly gel well together below the goal line,” Allen said. “They do a lot of the hard work, and they obviously try to find Vladdy and let him do his thing. But I think they just work well together and created a lot for each other.”
Tyler Bozak put the Blues up 2-0 with 1:18 left in the second.
O’Reilly made it 3-0 by tipping in Schenn’s pass with 1.1 seconds remaining in the period, providing another example of the chemistry the trio is developing.
“We’re not fancy and beating guys 1-on-1,” O’Reilly said of Schenn. “It’s kind of coming together and supporting each other, and we find a way to support each other. When we do that, you can see we’re able to make plays and stuff opens up so we find ways to break down teams.”
Ivan Barbashev capped the scoring at 8:13 of the third period on another odd-man rush.
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“Tonight alone I think that’s more odd-man rushes than I’ve seen in a game in a long time” Kings forward Tyler Toffoli said. “That’s not a way for any team to be successful.”
NOTES: Tarasenko totaled four points (goal, three assists) against the Ducks and Kings. He has 19 goals and 37 points in 34 road games. . Allen’s shutout was his third this season. . … Los Angeles was shut out for the third time. … The Blues are 13-4-2 on the road in 2019.
Blues: At San Jose on Saturday.
Kings: At Arizona on Saturday night.
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