Rangers rally to knock off Blues

Jimmy Vesey scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period Friday night for the New York Rangers, who stormed back from a two-goal first period deficit and denied the St. Louis Blues a chance to clinch a playoff spot by handing the visitors a 4-2 loss.

Vesey scored on the rebound of a shot by Brett Howden to cap a chaotic sequence deep in the Blues’ zone. Howden had a point-blank shot and a backhanded attempt turned away by St. Louis goalie Jordan Binnington before Vesey swooped in and tucked over the leg of the sprawled-out Binnington at the 5:47 mark.

Ryan Strome and Pavel Buchnevich tied the game by scoring within a span of 80 seconds early in the second period for the Rangers and Chris Kreider iced the victory with an empty-net goal with 7.3 seconds left as New York won for just the second time in nine games.

Goalie Alexandar Georgiev made 44 saves.

Vladimir Tarasenko and David Perron scored 27 seconds apart late in the first for the Blues (41-28-8), who had a four-game winning streak snapped and lost for just the second time in the last six games. St. Louis could still clinch a playoff berth later Friday if the Arizona Coyotes fall to the Colorado Avalanche in regulation.

Binnington recorded 21 saves.

Tarasenko helped create the Blues’ first goal by combining with center Ryan O’Reilly to steal the puck from Mike Zibanejad along the boards to the left of the Rangers’ net. O’Reilly then passed to Brayden Schenn, who fed Tarasenko, who jammed the puck in between Georgiev’s skate and the post with 5:25 left in the first.

Another turnover by the Rangers helped the Blues double the lead. St. Louis center Oskar Sundqvist swiped the puck from Brendan Smith to begin a sequence that ended with Perron, who was alone in front of the net, tapping home a pass from Jaden Schwartz.

A pair of Blues turnovers led to the Rangers tying the game in the second. Pat Maroon’s pass was intercepted in the neutral zone by Vladislav Namestnikov, whose breakaway shot was first slowed by Binnington before the goalie swept the puck out of the crease. But St. Louis could not clear the puck and Strome crashed the net and scored an unassisted goal at 2:22.

Kreider and the Blues’ Colton Parayko both slipped while chasing a loose puck deep in the St. Louis zone. Zibanejad picked it up and passed to Buchnevich, who went to one knee and fired a shot past the glove of Binnington.