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Blues blow 3-1 lead, lose in shootout

ST. LOUIS -- On a night when T.J. Oshie located a lost puck lodged in the back of the net for a good goal, the biggest mystery was how the Blues blew a two-goal lead against Ottawa in the third period Tuesday night at Scottrade Center.

The Senators stormed back on a snowy night in St. Louis, scoring three goals in a span of 2 minutes, 35 seconds and taking their first lead. The Blues picked up the game-tying goal from Jordan Leopold with 8:52 left in regulation, but fell 5-4 to Ottawa in a shootout in front of a crowd of 14,758.

Kyle Turris converted his attempt in the fifth round, and the Senators earned the second point with a 3-2 advantage in the shootout.

The Blues posted a season-high 50 shots on goal and were 0 for 7 on the power play Tuesday, including a wasted 55-second man-advantage in overtime. They dropped to 25-0-4 when leading after two periods.

"Odd-angle goals, pucks you don't even know are in the net that are in there ... yeah it was a strange game at points," Blues forward Brenden Morrow. "But sitting here, we're frustrated. We felt like we let a game slip from us. That's a big point."

The one point earned by the Blues gave them 80 for the season, pulling them to within two of Central Division-leading Chicago. They will host Boston Thursday night, one of two remaining games before the Olympic break.

The Blues had plenty of opportunity to put Tuesday's game away in the second period, taking a 1-0 lead on a first-period goal by Brenden Morrow and then going on a 5-on-3 power-play for 2 minutes, 10 seconds.

The Blues peppered Ottawa goalie Robin Lehner, but on one of several saves made by Lehner, he gloved a shot by defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk with 8:38 remaining in the second period.

The Blues used their timeout to rest their five-some, which had its 5-on-3 time extended when Marc Methot took a cross-checking penalty near the end of the two-man advantage.

The Blues managed six shots during the lengthy power play, but it finished with them still clinging to their 1-0 lead.

"You talk about the 5 on 3 ... there's a lot of good plays being made, we just don't finish it," Blues captain David Backes said. "If we score on that, it's demoralizing and momentum-building for us. Instead they kill it."

Just moments after the Senators returned to full-strength, defenseman Erik Karlsson took a backhanded centering pass from teammate Jason Spezza and beat goalie Jaroslav Halak, tying the score 1-1 with 5:10 left in the period.

Fans were still groaning when, after the puck dropped again, Alex Pietrangelo started a play back the other way, feeding Magnus Paajarvi on the rush. Paajarvi reversed the puck to the right side of the Oshie, where Oshie teed up a shot.

Everyone lost sight of the puck after Oshie's release, and the sense from nearly everyone on the ice was that it sailed out of play.

Oshie knew that his shot couldn't have missed. He celebrated as if he had scored, but when officials raised their hands to signal the puck left the ice surface, Oshie turned and skated to the Ottawa net. He ducked his head underneath the back bar and found where his blast laid to rest -- lodged inside.

"I just had a feeling that it went in, the way it came off my stick," Oshie said. "People started shoveling the ice and I wanted to argue my case. Fortunately, he listened."

The discovery by Inspector Oshie was confirmed by a referee, giving the Blues a 2-1 lead with 4:51 left to play in the second period, just 19 seconds after the Senators pulled even.

After another unsuccessful power play, they did stretch their lead on a goal by Backes.

Defenseman Barret Jackman alertly kept the puck in the offensive zone, putting a shot on net. The rebound filtered to Jaden Schwartz, who set up Backes for his 20th goal of the season.

After putting 23 shots on net in the second period, a season-high for a single frame, the Blues went into the second intermission with a 3-1 lead.

The club put that lead in jeopardy quickly.

A pass from Spezza to Michalek led to a Michalek's eighth goal of the year for a 3-2 score with 14:08 left in regulation.

"The second goal was the one that hurt us a lot," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We're on the wrong side of the puck in the neutral zone and had full control of the hockey game. It was just winding down and that gave them the life..."

Just 1:10 later, Kyle Turris flung a puck on net and it banked in off the skate of Schwartz for a 3-3 game.

And 1:25 after the game-tying goal, a turnover by Derek Roy turned into a scoring opportunity for Spezza, who ripped a shot that went off the stick of defenseman Jay Bouwmeester and beat Halak over his glove hand.

"To get those goals in the third, obviously it was something that was unexpected but we just kept plugging along," Spezza said. "We made some stuff happen."

Leopold pulled the Blues into a 4-4 tie with his first goal as a Blue in his 36th game with the club. From below the goal line, he banked in a shot off Lehner. The Blues had a power play in overtime, but couldn't convert and then dropped to 6-3 in shootouts this season.

(c)2014 St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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