This is the most important time of the season for the St. Louis Blues and they currently sit two points out of a Wild Card spot. Every game matters now. Unfortunately, Vladimir Tarasenko left the game on Saturday night against the New York Rangers with an upper-body injury. He did not play on Sunday night against the Chicago Blackhawks or on Wednesday night against the Boston Bruins.
Tarasenko’s injury is being treated as a day-to-day injury. With only nine games remaining in the regular season, having Tarasenko in the lineup is crucial in the Blues both making and winning in the playoffs. Yet, the Blues have managed to win the last three games without him in the game.
The St. Louis Blues Are Still Managing to Win Without Vladimir Tarasenko
Alex Steen has taken over Tarasenko’s spot on the top line with Jaden Schwartz and Brayden Schenn. Both Schwartz and Schenn have stepped up since Tarasenko got injured. Schwartz has four points in three games, including the game-winning goal against the Bruins in overtime on Wednesday night. Schenn also has four points in the last three games. Steen has three points in the last three games. Without these three, the Blues would have undoubtedly lost at least one game without Tarasenko.
Alex Pietrangelo has also stepped up since Tarasenko got injured. Pietrangelo has seven points in the last three games, which leads the team. When your captain is playing well, the rest of the team is inspired to play well too. It is imperative that Pietrangelo and the first line continue to play well down the stretch without Tarasenko if they want to win and make it into the playoffs.
What the St. Louis Blues Need to Do to Continue to Win Without Vladimir Tarasenko
The Blues have managed to continue competing for a playoff spot without Tarasenko so far, but can they keep it up? The Blues scored four goals against the Rangers, five goals against the Blackhawks and two goals against the Bruins. The worrisome part is that both goals scored against the Bruins were scored by Schwartz. The Blues need more than the first line and Pietrangelo to step up and score. If they continue to score only two goals a game, there’s no guarantee they will make the playoffs.
This starts with the team’s second line of Patrik Berglund, Kyle Brodziak and Vladimir Sobotka. Berglund only has one point in the last three games. Averaging 17:46 minutes of ice time per game, Berglund has time to make an impact on the scoreboard. He has 17 points in 48 games this season. The Blues need him to step up more than ever right now. Brodziak also only has one point in the last three games and averages 17:45 minutes of ice time per game. He also has 25 points in 72 games this season. If there was ever a time for Brodziak to step up, it is now.
Sobotka is playing the best out of these three right now. He has three points in the last three games. If he can continue to be a point a game player, the Blues might have a chance of being a Wild Card spot, with or without Tarasenko.
Realistically, Tarasenko should be back before the end of the season. However, the Blues need to continue to win without him for now.
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