Paajarvi confidently scores twice in Blues' victory

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[March 24, 2017]  ST. LOUIS -- Magnus Paajarvi spent much of this season playing with the Chicago Wolves in the American Hockey League, and it was while he was there that he felt something start to change in his game -- confidence.

Since rejoining the St. Louis Blues last month, Paajarvi became a key contributor as the Blues try to secure a playoff berth.

Paajarvi should have even more confidence after his performance Thursday night, when he scored two goals to lead the Blues to a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

It was the Blues' fourth win in a row and their ninth in the last 10 games. They remained tied with Nashville for third place in the Central Division but own the tiebreaker over the Predators, who beat Calgary 3-1 on Thursday night.

"I'm attacking more, that's my mindset," Paajarvi said. "It's working out. I try to drive the net with or without the puck and things happen. It's always nice to get goals.

"When you get a window you've got to try to take it. There's not a whole lot of them, and so far it's been good for me."

Paarjarvi took advantage of a pass from Ivan Barbashev -- his Chicago teammate for much of this season -- to score his first goal at 17:32 of the first period. Goalie Ryan Miller stopped his first shot, but Paajarvi was able to knock in the rebound to tie the game 1-1.

After Kyle Brodziak put the Blues in front with a goal following a set up by Alex Pietrangelo at 17:13 of the second period, Paajarvi scored again off a feed from Patrik Berglund behind the net 9:41 into the third period to increase the lead to 3-1.

Vancouver challenged that the play was offside, but the goal was allowed to stand after a video review.

"I knew it was close, I didn't want to watch the replay," Paajarvi said. "They said it was good."

Good is the word Brodziak and some of the other Blues' veterans are using to describe Paajarvi's play since he rejoined the team.

"Ever since he's come back up here you can tell when he's skating he's a step ahead of everybody else," Brodziak said. "He can create space for everyone out there. He's been great for us."

It was only the second time in 136 games in Paajarvi's NHL career he scored two goals in a game. The first came during his rookie season in Edmonton in 2011.

Paajarvi has seven goals and three assists in 20 games since rejoining the Blues. Following his second goal, Pietrangelo scored into an empty net.

Coach Mike Yeo has been impressed with the contributions of Paajarvi, Barbashev and other young players on the Blues.

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Blues left wing Magnus Paajarvi (56) spays ice at Vancouver Canucks goalie Ryan Miller (30) during the third period at Scottrade Center. The Blues won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY 

"It's a real good sign for our organization," Yeo said. "The injuries that we've had, a lot of teams wouldn't be able to get through a spell like this. For these guys to come up and not only not hurt you but to actually help you and produce, it's a real good sign for the future and a real big part of maintaining what we have going now."

Goalie Jake Allen stopped 27 of 28 shots to win for the seventh time in his last eight games. He allowed a total of 10 goals in those eight games.

Vancouver's only goal came at 13:38 of the first period, scored by Henrik Sedin.

The loss was the seventh in their last eight games by the Canucks.

Coach Willie Desjardins thought his team missed a chance to tie the game when they had a power play early in the third period and could not score.

"We needed to capitalize on the power play and we didn't," Desjardins said.

Sedin also did not believe the Canucks got the correct call on Paajarvi's second goal, believing the play was offside.

"We got to see on the bench and the only way it could not have been offside was if the puck was in our end and came out," Sedin said. "They (the referees) said they couldn't see the puck on their screen. They're making the calls, but I think that's where we lost the game."

NOTES: The Blues were without their top center, Paul Stastny, who will miss at least a week because of a foot/ankle injury suffered when he was hit by a shot in Tuesday night's game. ... Alexander Steen moved to center to take Stastny's spot on the Blues' top line with LW Zach Sanford moving to the second line. .. RW Nikolay Goldobin returned to the Canucks' lineup after missing six games because of illness. ... The Blues host Calgary on Saturday night while the Canucks' five-game road trip continues Saturday afternoon at Minnesota.

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