By JOE HARRIS Associated Press
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Vladimir Tarasenko scored two goals and the St. Louis Blues beat the Dallas Stars 3-2 Thursday night in first game of the teams’ Western Conference semifinal series.
Robby Fabbri also scored and Jordan Binnington made 27 saves for the Blues, who had lost three of four to Dallas during the regular season.
It was Tarasenko’s seventh career multi-goal game in the postseason, tying him with Bernie Federko for second-most in franchise history.
Jason Spezza and Jamie Benn scored for the Stars. Ben Bishop made 17 saves.
Game 2 will be Saturday in St. Louis, before the series moves to Dallas for the third and fourth games of the best-of-seven series.
Tarasenko’s power-play goal with 1:57 left in the second broke a 1-1 tie. It was the first power-play goal in 17 chances allowed by the Stars this postseason.
Tarasenko gave the Blues a 3-1 lead at the 3:51 mark of the third period, skating by defenseman Miro Heiskanen and beating Bishop with a shot into the top left corner.
Benn’s power-play goal with 2:17 left cut the Stars’ deficit to one, but they couldn’t get the equalizer.
Binnington made the lead stand up, by making a tough save on Spezza during a Dallas power play and a sprawling save to rob Roope Hintz midway through the third.
Fabbri gave the Blues a 1-0 lead at 5:57 of the first, beating Bishop between the legs from the right circle for his first goal of the playoffs. It was his first goal in 25 games, dating to Nov. 23, 2018.
Spezza tied the game midway through the second period, burying a one-timer on a pass from John Klingberg. It was his first goal in 23 games and his first in the playoffs since May 9, 2016, at St. Louis.
FACES IN THE CROWD
Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, who has become a fixture at Blues home games, brought teammates Dexter Fowler, Michael Wacha and Dominic Leone to the game.
NOTES: This series marks the 14th time the Blues and Stars have met in the postseason, with St. Louis holding a 7-6 edge. . Bishop grew up in St. Louis and was originally drafted by the Blues in the third round (85th overall) in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. . The Blues’ power play ranked 10th in the league (21.1 during the regular season, while the Stars power play was 11th (21%). . Nine Blues players scored at least one goal, and 15 of the team’s 20 skaters had at least one point in the first round.
Game two in St. Louis on Saturday.
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