Vladimir Tarasenko reacts after scoring the game-winning goal with 36 seconds left in overtime Sunday night at Scottrade Center. (St. Louis Blues

By Rob Rains

Paul Stastny has played with Vladimir Tarasenko long enough to realize how much pressure he puts on himself to succeed on a nightly basis.

On nights when Tarasenko gets chances but doesn’t score, Stastny said, he can see how it affects him.

Which is why when Tarasenko scores a goal like he did on Sunday night, giving the St. Louis Blues a 3-2 overtime win over the Buffalo Sabres at Scottrade Center, he can see the relief on his face.

“The guy gets so pouty all the time,” Stastny said. “He hard on himself but he’s playing good for us. He’s creating a lot of chances, power plays, getting assists … I think everyone focuses on that (scoring goals). But by him not scoring is creating a lot of opportunities to score for other guys and sometimes you need to step back and look at it from that perspective.”

Tarasenko’s only goal before his game-winner on Sunday night in his previous eight games had been an empty-net goal.

After failing to score on several chances in regulation, Tarasenko made the most of his chance in the final minute of overtime. He got the puck and broke down the right side of the ice, passing by the Sabres’ Jack Eichel, before driving the net and getting the puck past goalie Robin Lehner with 36 seconds left to play.

“Just tried to drive the net,” Tarasenko said. “I think when we had so many chances and the puck doesn’t go in you just have to play simple and get that lucky bounce.

“Yes I get pissed off sometimes on the ice. It’s not good I think, but trying to stay connected with the group and being all involve together and I believe in everyone in this locker room and myself too so if I keep working it’s going to come.”

Coach Mike Yeo believes that as well, especially watching the way in which Tarasenko scored his 14th goal of the year to extend the Blues’ winning streak to four games.

“I like the way he scored it, driving the net, moving his feet,” Yeo said. “He factored in an awful lot of scoring chances for us. … Ge’s had at least as many chances this year as he’s had in the past and probably more. He factors in so many scoring chances night after night. He will be the first to admit he’s missed more nets and hit more posts but for me the mndset of him taking the puck to the net and scoring in tight, that’s big. If he continues to do that he won’t be stopped.”

Lehner also knows how good Tarasnko is, even when he is not scoring goals.

“I think Tarasenko had a lot of chances; he's obviously a skilled player,” Lehner said. “I didn't want him to get a shot off so I did a poke check and it was a second too early and it went in. He's a helluva player with a helluva shot so I just wanted to take that away. I felt like I had him most of the game and it's tough. I wanted to make that save and go into the shootout.”

Playing without forward Jaden Schwartz and defenseman Alex Pietrangelo because of injuries, the Blues built a 2-0 lead on goals by Brayden Scheen, his team-leading 16th of the year, 40 second into the game and a second-period goal from Stastny, with the assist on his goal going to Tarasenko.

The Sabres rallied in the third period, however, on two goals from Evan Rodrigues, his first of the season, coming in his third game. He scored on a power play 1:42 into the period, then tied the game after the Sabres pulled Lehner for an extra attacker with 1:27 to play.

“On the outside looking in you see that we gave up two in the third period and had to win it in overtime but I think we had a number of quality chances. We could have put that game away,” Yeo said. “Considering we played back to back games, missing a couple of guys, overworked some players I thought it was pretty gutsy win.”

NOTES: The Blues said Schwartz is expected to miss six weeks because of an injury to his right ankle suffered in Saturday's game in Detroit. He was hurt when he blocked a shot, minutes after he scored his 14th goal of the year. ... Ivan Barbashev was recalled from Chicago of the AHL to take Schwartz's place on the roster. ... The Blues also were without Alex Pietrangelo on Sunday night after he also was hurt on Saturday, even though he was able to finish that game. The team said his status is day-to-day. ... The game started a four-game homestand for the Blues, who will play Tampa Bay on Tuesday night.