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Chris Pinkert has covered the St. Louis Blues for more than seven seasons and will frequently contribute news, analysis and stories from the locker room to the Blue Note Insider blog. Check back often for exclusive behind the scenes access to the Blues and be sure to follow him on Twitter at @BlueNoteInsider

Tarasenko Could Debut in Game 4

Monday, 05.06.2013 / 3:28 PM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blue Note Insider
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Tarasenko Could Debut in Game 4

Vladimir Tarasenko could make his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut tonight when the puck drops on Game 4 at 9 p.m. at Staples Center.

Ken Hitchcock didn’t say for certain that he’d play, but Tarasenko skated with the Blues’ fourth-line in Monday’s morning skate and was sharing the left-wing role with Adam Cracknell.

“I had a talk with him yesterday and he’s excited to play,” Hitchcock said. “I think he deserves to play based on his regular season…he certainly gives us some options moving forward if the game gets as close as it does.”

Tarasenko wasn’t in the lineup for the first three games of the Blues’ first-round series with Los Angeles. For a team looking to capitalize on their scoring chances, one would figure Tarasenko will be part of the equation eventually.

“He came back a bit tentative from the injury, but when you have a player that contributes like he does and is as strong on the puck and as determined as he is and is as big as he is, he’s an asset we can use,” Hitchcock said.

Tarasenko was the NHL’s rookie of the month for January when he had nine points (five goals and four assists). Since returning from a concussion on March 16, he has seven points (two goals and five assists).

Both goals since his return were scored on March 28 against the Kings.

MISSED OPPORTUNITIES

The Blues had plenty of good scoring opportunities in Game 3, but no one was able to capitalize.

“We definitely had our opportunities, it’s just a matter of burying them,” defenseman Jordan Leopold said. “We have to take plenty of positives from it, we didn’t cash in our opportunities and we definitely had plenty. I know I had one with about six or seven minutes left in the game.

“It’s unfortunate, but we have to turn the page and get ready for the next game here.”

Added Hitchcock: “I thought we did a lot of good things, we created a lot of turnovers, but we didn’t sustain the pressure. We got a lot of good original shots, but I don’t think we got as many second and third shots as we’re going to need to outwork (Jonathan Quick).

“More than anything today, we were unlucky.”

‘NOTEWORTHY

  • The power went out on Sunday evening where the Blues are staying in Los Angeles. The hotel and businesses nearby were without power for several hours.
  • Several players went to see Iron Man 3 on Sunday night. Jake Allen and Cracknell were among the players that went to the James Beach restaurant in Venice, home of the famous fish tacos from the 2009 comedy “I Love You, Man” starring Paul Rudd and Jason Segel.
  • The Blues have the best shot differential in the third period in the postseason (plus-18).
  • The Blues have given up just two power-play goals to the Kings in their last 31 playoff opportunities dating back to last year’s second round matchup.
  • Alex Pietrangelo and David Perron each have four points (one goal, three assists) in their last five games against the Kings.
  • Brian Elliott ranks second in goals-against average (0.93) and save percentage (.962) among all playoff goaltenders.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Steen 68 33 29 17 62
T. Oshie 79 21 39 19 60
D. Backes 74 27 30 14 57
J. Schwartz 80 25 31 28 56
A. Pietrangelo 81 8 43 20 51
K. Shattenkirk 81 10 35 1 45
V. Tarasenko 64 21 22 20 43
D. Roy 75 9 28 -1 37
J. Bouwmeester 82 4 33 26 37
V. Sobotka 61 9 24 14 33
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
B. Elliott 18 6 2 .922 1.96
R. Miller 25 30 4 .918 2.64

 
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