Continued from page 1

But the Blues (35-11-5) wouldn’t quit, leaving Hitchcock pleased.

“This was good, gritty road win,” he said. “I like the way the team played in the third period.”

Vanek opened the scoring at 4:01 of the first, slapping the puck by Halak for his 19th of the season. Vanek has points in 17 of his last 19 games with nine goals and 16 assists during the stretch.

The 30-year-old left wing was acquired from Buffalo on Oct. 27 for Matt Moulson and two high draft picks. The line of Vanek, John Tavares and Kyle Okposo was at it again at 15:11 when Okposo jammed the puck past Halak for his 22nd goal of the year.

Fans at Nassau Coliseum also chanted “U-S-A! U-S-A!” for Okposo, who wasn’t picked for the U.S. team for the Winter Games next month in Russia even though he’s having a breakout season. Okposo already has a career-high 54 points.

Tarasenko cut the margin in half at 17:17 of the first, beating Poulin high from about 30 feet out. The 22-year-old right wing scored again at 1:17 of the second, his 17th goal this season. He hit the left post late in second and had a golden chance midway through the third when his rebound shot appeared to hit both posts without going into the net.

The Blues won the previous meeting this season, 5-1 at the Scottrade Center on Dec. 5. They were completing visits to all three local teams. They defeated the Rangers 2-1 on Thursday after losing 7-1 in Newark to the Devils.

“This a great way to end the trip with a bonus point,” Oshie said. “We found a way to battle back and we’ll have a fun ride home.”

NOTES: The Blues host the Devils on Tuesday. St. Louis is 16-3-1 against the East this season. They are 40-10-6 against the East since 2010-11, league-best intra-conference play. … The Islanders are 19-6-3 when they score at least three goals and are 2-19-5 when they do not. … Ten members of the Blues will represent their countries at the Olympics, tying Chicago and Detroit for the most among NHL teams.