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Tkachuk Shows No Signs of Slowing Down

Blues forward has scored four goals in three games to start the season

Tuesday, 10.14.2008 / 12:19 PM / St Louis Blues - Features
By Chris Pinkert  - St. Louis Blues
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Tkachuk Shows No Signs of Slowing Down
Keith Tkachuk has scored four power plays for the Blues in just three games this season.
Who said a grizzled veteran couldn’t keep up with the kids?

Blues forward Keith Tkachuk is on a torrid pace to start the season, scoring four goals in his first three games. He leads the entire league in the goal scoring department as of Tuesday, Oct. 14.

Tkachuk, who will turn 37 in March, has scored all four of his goals on the power play.

The 36-year-old is picking up right where he left off. In the final two games of 2007-08, Tkachuk scored three times to reach the 500-goal milestone, a mark that only four U.S. born NHL players have achieved.

Only one thing has eluded him his entire career: a Stanley Cup. It appears Tkachuk is focused on adding it to his resume before he hangs up the skates.

“I want to win,” he said last season after scoring goal No. 500. “At this point, I want to win and I want to win here. That would mean everything.”

Tkachuk has heard his share of “old geezer” jokes around the Blues locker room lately, but his production on the ice through three games speaks for itself. No witty comebacks necessary.

“It’s the greatest job in the world; it’s still a thrill to play in the NHL,” Tkachuk told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch last week. “The pressure is different. The pressure is, ‘Do you want to play for a long time, do you want to play year after year?’ And it gets harder every year.”

That may be true, but Tkachuk is certainly making it look easy.


GRAY LINE CENTER
Rookie T.J. Oshie was known for his offense and big hits at the University of North Dakota, but he showed recently that he’s got a lot more to his game.

Former Blues forward Jamal Mayers had a breakaway Monday in his first regular season meeting with the Blues, but Oshie made a spectacular diving play to knock the puck off his stick early in the second period, showing he has the tools to be a great two-way player in the NHL.

Oshie also recorded his first career NHL point, an assist on Brad Boyes’ goal early in the second period on Monday. Because of a knee injury to Lee Stempniak, Oshie was moved up to the club’s top line with Boyes and Andy McDonald. Stempniak is listed as day-to-day.

Blues coach Andy Murray refers to lines as colors rather than assigning them distinctions like “first line, second line.” Oshie started the season centering the “gray line” between Tkachuk and David Backes.

In a radio interview before the season, Oshie said he considered himself a third line center. The next morning, Andy Murray pulled Oshie aside and asked “Who said you were a third line player?”

Oshie said he just assumed he ranked behind Andy McDonald and Patrik Berglund on the depth chart.

“Are you going to tell Keith (Tkachuk) he’s a third line winger?” Murray asked.

Oshie said nothing. Probably a good decision now that Tkachuk leads the league in goals.


STARTING SLOW

The Blues have gotten off to a sluggish start in their last two games and found themselves trailing big after the first period in both.

“Two slow starts and our goalie wasn’t very good in the first period for us tonight,” said Blues goalie Manny Legace, referring to himself after Monday’s game vs. Toronto. “The boys just battled back for me and got an amazing two points for me tonight. It was huge.”

“We’re not happy being down three goals and the way that we were playing,” Murray added. “We regrouped and I think our guys realized how disappointed we were with our performance in the first period. We found a way to get it going.”

While the team overcame a rough start Monday, the story wasn’t the same on Saturday at Nassau Coliseum for the Islanders’ home opener. Chris Mason gave up four goals early and although he was strong in the final two periods, the club never recovered.

“We came out flat-footed,” Mason said after the game. “We were outplayed in the first period. They were fired up. They came out and threw a lot of pucks at us. After the first, we settled down, but we were embarrassed with our effort in the first.”

The Blues will attempt to start strong Thursday when they host the Dallas Stars at 7:30 p.m., the first of seven consecutive games at Scottrade Center.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NSH 64 41 16 7 192 155 89
2 ANA 64 40 17 7 189 177 87
3 STL 63 40 18 5 197 159 85
4 CHI 64 38 21 5 188 152 81
5 WPG 64 32 20 12 179 172 76
6 VAN 62 36 23 3 180 167 75
7 MIN 62 33 22 7 176 161 73
8 CGY 62 33 25 4 175 160 70
9 LAK 62 29 21 12 166 162 70
10 SJS 64 31 25 8 179 181 70
11 COL 63 27 25 11 167 182 65
12 DAL 63 27 26 10 196 210 64
13 ARI 63 20 36 7 138 214 47
14 EDM 63 18 35 10 143 208 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
V. Tarasenko 63 31 30 27 61
A. Steen 61 19 32 6 51
J. Schwartz 56 20 27 13 47
T. Oshie 55 17 27 11 44
D. Backes 62 21 22 4 43
K. Shattenkirk 49 8 32 18 40
P. Stastny 55 12 25 11 37
J. Lehtera 56 9 24 13 33
A. Pietrangelo 63 6 27 -2 33
P. Berglund 59 8 12 -2 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
B. Elliott 20 9 2 .921 2.20
J. Allen 17 6 3 .903 2.55

 
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