March 28, 2020

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Blues' game-winning goal-scorer 'might be at a different level

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/10/2015 (1623 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

He made them pay. Twice. And if the Winnipeg Jets didn’t already know about the deadly finish of Vladimir Tarasenko, they have the painful evidence now.

The 23-year-old Russian — drafted in the first round in 2010 by the St. Louis Blues — was all over the scoresheet in Sunday’s 4-2 win over the Jets, finishing with two goals, including the game-winner in propelling the visitors to their fifth win in six games this season.

St. Louis Blues' Vladimir Tarasenko (91) celebrates his goal as Winnipeg Jets' Dustin Byfuglien (33) skates to the bench during the second period of Sunday's game in Winnipeg. Tarasenko would go on to score the game-winning goal that propelled the Blues to victory.

TREVOR HAGAN / THE CANADIAN PRESS

St. Louis Blues' Vladimir Tarasenko (91) celebrates his goal as Winnipeg Jets' Dustin Byfuglien (33) skates to the bench during the second period of Sunday's game in Winnipeg. Tarasenko would go on to score the game-winning goal that propelled the Blues to victory.

"This is a really good two points. We knew Winnipeg usually plays really tough over here," said Tarasenko. "They have a great team and we were ready for this level of compete and this level of a game.

"I got really good passes from (Dmitrij) Jaskin and from (Scott) Gomez. I have really good teammates who create the chances for me, so all I have to do is put the puck in the net and tell them ‘thanks’ after."

Part of that is true: Tarasenko did get two solid passes from his linemates, but his shot is also a blur. And Ondrej Pavelec will attest.

Tarasenko had 21 goals in 64 games two years ago, and exploded for 37 in 77 last year. But he now has five goals and nine points in the Blues first six games this season and there is a sense he’s not even close to reaching his ceiling.

"I think it’s safe to say I’ve been around a long time and I’ve seen some unbelievable guys," said Gomez. "I got to play with (Alexander) Mogilny... but this guy might be at a different level. I don’t think we even know the potential. It’s almost scary. The closest thing I can think of is when Pavel Bure first broke into the league.

"When this guy gets the puck in almost any area, you’ve got to think almost goal every time. He’s a great kid, he’s got a smile on his face all the time and the guys just love him. You can tell he just wants to get better. It’s pretty neat. You don’t want to take him for granted. He’s great for our league. This is what you pay to go see a kid like this because it’s awesome to see and awesome to have him as a teammate. He’s a special one right there."

OUCH: The Jets Jacob Trouba caught Blues winger Troy Brouwer with an elbow early in the third period and the St. Louis forward did not return to the game. The replay caused the Blues bench to erupt in displeasure — no penalty was called — and it is the kind of hit that might draw attention from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.

"I haven’t really watched it yet so I can’t tell you 100 per cent" what he remembered of the hit, said Trouba. "I was kinda caught between going for the puck or the man. It was a mad scramble in front... I’ll have to watch it first."

VIEW FROM THE OTHER SIDE: "Both teams get after each other, one team is usually defending a lot more than they want to. They had us hemmed in early. We made a comeback at the end of the first period that gave us a lot of momentum. Third period was the best period we’ve played on the road all season and we won this street fight. They’re fun, players like playing in these games, these are old fashioned, you get diced by the inch, and they're fun to play in. I think the players — our players —  really like this type of atmosphere, love this building, like playing this team because it demands a lot and they’re fun to coach in. They are very emotional, very intense hockey games and they are fun to be around." — Blues coach Ken Hitchcock.

FYI: The Jets made one lineup change, inserting Anthony Peluso into the game and sitting Nic Petan. Said Maurice of the move: "Just because we thought it would be a style of game like this."... Blake Wheeler extended his point streak to six games (3G, 5A) and now has 14 points in 15 career games vs. St. Louis... Blues defenceman Joel Edmundson, a Brandon product, recorded his first career NHL point on Scottie Upshall’s goal in the second. Edmundson was drafted 46th overall by the Blues in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft... The Blues were without a shot for the first 8:31 of the game... Pavelec was stung by a shot in the third period, but recovered quickly to rob Alex Steen just a few minutes later.

—with files from Jason Bell

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPEdTait

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