(SportsNetwork.com) – The St. Louis Blues were hoping to add a little
offensive punch when they signed Paul Stastny this offseason.
They’re getting it instead from Vladimir Tarasenko.
The red-hot Tarasenko aims to lead the Blues to a sixth straight victory on
Tuesday night as they kick off a home-and-home set with the hosting New Jersey
St. Louis shelled out $28 million over four years to sign Stastny, but he has
missed the past seven games with a sprained left shoulder.
In has stepped Tarasenko, who has heated up with six goals over his past four
games after breaking out for 21 in 64 games a season ago.
Tarasenko’s sixth goal of that span was a highlight-reel tally and he then
scored the winner of the shootout for a 4-3 triumph over the New York Rangers
on Monday night.
On the power play, Tarasenko skated into the middle of the Rangers zone and
maneuvered through two defenders before heading in on goal. He then skated
left and reached back to his right with one hand on the stick to push the puck
past Rangers goaltender Cam Talbot.
The 22-year-old later simply wristed the puck into the left corner of the net
in the shootout right after Brian Elliott poke-checked the puck away from New
York’s Rick Nash.
Patrik Berglund and Jay Bouwmeester also scored for the Blues, who are on
their longest win streak since taking five in a row from March 2-9 of last
season, while Elliott made 36 saves in the win.
“It’s always good getting a win on the road … in a tough building like
this,” Elliot said of Madison Square Garden.
New Jersey’s Prudential Center was a tough building for St. Louis in its last
visit. The Blues were handed a 7-1 loss on Jan. 21, though they did respond
seven days later with a 3-0 home win over the Devils, their fifth victory in
the past seven meetings overall.
Jake Allen will start in net tonight for the Blues and faces the Devils for
the first time.
New Jersey, which will visit St. Louis on Thursday, won for the third time in
four games with a 3-2 triumph over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday. Adam
Henrique and Adam Larsson scored in the third period, with Larsson’s first
goal since Nov. 16, 2013 serving as the game-winner.
“(Larsson) has played well when he comes in,” Henrique said. “That’s all you
can really ask. Scoring a big goal like that, the confidence grows.”
Marek Zidlicky had a goal with one assist and Cory Schneider registered 32
saves for the Devils.
Schneider is 3-2-1 with a 1.81 goals against average and .940 save percentage
in six previous meetings with St. Louis.