Tarasenko, Blues shoot for lead in Minnesota

(SportsNetwork.com) – Vladimir Tarasenko and the St. Louis Blues will try to
carry some momentum into Game 3 of the Western Conference quarterfinals when
they visit the Minnesota Wild on Monday night.

The Blues hosted the first two tests of this best-of-seven series, losing Game
1 by a 4-2 count before rebounding for Saturday’s 4-1 decision at Scottrade

Tarasenko led the way in the Game 2 triumph, posting his first career playoff
hat trick. The 23-year-old Russian led St. Louis with 37 goals and 73 points
during the regular season and he now has seven goals and one assist over nine
career playoff games.

Patrik Berglund also had a goal on Saturday while Alex Steen and Kevin
Shattenkirk each added two assists for the Blues. Jake Allen stopped 24 shots
for the victory.

Tarasenko opened the scoring with 6:42 left in the first period. He made it
2-0 with a power-play tally at the 18:01 mark of the first and completed the
hat trick with an empty-netter in the final minute of regulation.

It was the first playoff hat trick by a St. Louis player since April 12, 2004,
when Mike Sillinger had three goals in a 4-1 win against the San Jose Sharks
in the Western Conference quarterfinals.

“Our top players needed to have a big impact on our hockey team today and we
saw that on the ice,” said St. Louis head coach Ken Hitchcock. “We were very
engaged with all aspects of play tonight.”

The Wild are hoping to bounce back tonight at Xcel Energy Center, where they
posted a 22-13-6 record in 2014-15. Minnesota did lose its final three home
tests of the regular season.

Marco Scandella scored his club’s goal in Game 2, while Devan Dubnyk allowed
three on 26 shots in the loss.

“We’ll find a way to get better because we are much more capable than what we
showed on the ice tonight,” said Minnesota head coach Mike Yeo. “The outcome
of the game was frustrating to all of us.”

Dubnyk still hasn’t allowed more than three goals in a game since coming over
from Arizona in a trade on Jan. 14. This series marks the 28-year-old’s first
foray into the NHL playoffs.

The Blues and Wild split four meetings in the regular season, with Minnesota
going 2-1-1 thanks to a shootout loss back in November. This series marks the
first playoff encounter between the clubs.

Game 4 is scheduled for Wednesday in St. Paul.