ST. LOUIS As it turned out, the St. Louis Blues' unraveling Tuesday night was slow in developing.
Two nights after Ottawa netted three goals in 2 minutes, 35 seconds and rallied for a win in a shootout, Boston came to Scottrade Center Thursday and potted two goals in a span of 2:08 in the third period and erased the Blues' hard work against the Bruins.
But a pair of heads-up plays helped the Blues prevail in a 3-2 overtime victory in front of a standing-room-only crowd of 18,671.
Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo used his stick to stop Boston's Jarome Iginla from filling an empty net with 3:09 left in OT, a goal that would have drawn the curtain. T.J. Oshie pulled it down himself with 1:31 left before the Blues' third straight shootout, knocking down a puck rimmed around the end boards and tucking it past Boston goalie Tuukka Rask for an unassisted game-winner.
The Blues improved to 38-12-6 and have one more game Saturday against Winnipeg before the Olympic break.
The Blues were within 11 minutes of eliminating the frustration from Tuesday's loss to the Senators, with a 2-0 lead and goalie Jaroslav Halak eyeing his fifth shutout of the season.
But on a night when the Bruins outshot the Blues 38-26, they picked up goals by David Krejci and Brad Marchand with 10:44 and 8:36 left in regulation to knot the score 2-2.
Krejci scored his 13th of the season on a shot from just inside the point, with Milan Lucic screening Halak in front. The equalizer was more disturbing, with Marchand punching a bad-angle rebound after a point shot by Johnny Boychuk.
For the Blues, it marked their third blown two-goal lead in as many games, all on home ice, with the last two happening in the third period. Oshie, however, redeemed them with his 14th goal of the season.
As a result, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock earned his 110th victory with the franchise, tying Scotty Bowman for fourth on the all-time win list.
In the Blues' 3-2 win in Boston on Nov. 21, the club was besieged in the first period, and were fortunate to be in a tie game after the opening 20 minutes.
Thursday night didn't start off as scripted with a Blues' penalty 13 seconds into the game, but after two early penalty kills, the club broke open the scoring on Alexander Steen's 28th goal of the season.
The Bruins were changing on the play, as Steen slipped past the offensive blueline unscathed. He teed up a slap shot that left a trail on its way over the right leg of Rask.
The assists belonged to Jaden Schwartz and Jay Bouwmeester, and for Schwartz it was his 23rd assist and 40th point of the season.
Schwartz wasn't finished, posting his second consecutive multi-point game and eighth of the season when he netted his 18th goal in the second period.
It stretched the Blues' lead to 2-0 just 3:32 into the middle frame.
The tally came after Halak stood up against back-to-back scoring chances by Torey Krug and Lucic early in the period.
The Blues paid Halak back quickly, with rookie Dmitrij Jaskin moving the puck to Schwartz, who waltzed into the offensive zone on the outside, cut toward the middle and sneaked a shot through the legs of Boston defenseman Kevan Miller and in off the shoulder of Rask.
The club had a chance to pad its lead on the power play, but on the heels of Tuesday's 0-for-7 performance with the man-advantage, that unit continued to struggle Thursday.
After a tripping call against Chris Kelly, the power play went scoreless on its second attempt of the night, falling to 0 for 11 in the past three games at that point.
The Blues lost Oshie briefly in the middle frame, after the Olympic-bound forward blocked a shot by Boston's Matt Bartkowski. He limped to the bench and continued on to the locker room, but returned 1 1/2 minutes later.
Boy did Oshie return, delivering a crushing hit on Krug that flared up Boychuk. Boychuk addressed Oshie, earning an extra roughing minor, but the Blues dropped to 0 for 3 on the power play as the period expired.
The Blues led 2-0 entering the third period, but as it turned out, they needed more offense, and they got it in overtime from Oshie.
(c)2014 St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Visit the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at http://www.stltoday.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
PHOTOS (from MCT Photo Service, 202-383-6099):HKN-BRUINS-BLUES