It might come as a surprise that forward Vladimir Tarasenko has played a huge role in the St. Louis Blues 10 straight wins. For the first half of the season, he was not himself. He had shoulder surgery in the off-season and he looked to not be fully recovered at times. Many fans were wondering if he would ever be the same. Good news, he is arguably better lately than he has ever been.
Vladimir Tarasenko Has Been on a Hot Streak
Tarasenko extended his point streak to 12 games in the Blues 4-0 win over the Minnesota Wild on Sunday. This is a new career high for him. He also has put up multiple points in five straight games. In the last 10 games, Tarasenko has 20 points, which is an average of two points per game. His passion is showing on every shift. His celebrations are bigger and better and every syllable of his angry English yelling can be heard through the television. He seems just as happy as the fans that he is finally scoring again.
There are several factors that could have contributed to why he was not playing like himself for so long. He was recovering from an injury and most of his teammates didn’t play well. There was a coaching change and his linemates kept getting changed due to injuries. For awhile, it seemed like the offseason additions of Tyler Bozak, David Perron, Pat Maroon and Ryan O’Reilly weren’t enough to make the Blues a good team. The whole team had to get adjusted.
Since they got adjusted, Tarasenko’s line, consisting of also Brayden Schenn and O’Reilly, has put up 16 goals and 28 assists for 44 points in the last 10 games. This line combined with the goaltending tandem of Jake Allen and Jordan Binnington are making the Blues a force to be reckoned with.
Tarasenko’s 2018-19 Season
Overall this season, Tarasenko has 26 goals and 25 assists for 51 points in 57 games this season. His 26 goals is more than O’Reilly (22), who leads the Blues in assists and points. A little healthy competition between the two for goals in the remaining 24 games of the season could help the Blues move higher up in the standings. They are currently in third place in the Central Division, but only six points behind the Nashville Predators with three games in hand.
Expecting the Blues to win the next 24 games is unrealistic, but if they can win the majority, they might have a chance at making the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2015-16. This responsibility mostly falls on the shoulders of Tarasenko’s top line and the goaltending. If they can handle the pressure, the Blues might have a date with Lord Stanley.
Tarasenko is in his seventh NHL season. He has 401 points in his 478 career NHL games. His most productive NHL season was in 2016-17 when he had 75 points in 80 games. If he stays on pace for two points a game or even averages one point a game for the rest of the season, he will match and possibly beat the highest point total of his career. Someone awoke him from his slumber just in time to make a playoff push. The Blues have jumped from sixth in the Central Division with 34 points to third in the Central with 67 since Jan. 1. If Tarasenko would not have woken up, the Blues would not be in a playoff position right now. They would not even be close.
Tarasenko doesn’t historically slow down much in the playoffs. In 44 playoff games with the Blues, he has 22 goals and 10 assists for 32 points. The Blues are typically a team that runs out of gas come playoff time from working so hard in the regular season so they are going to need Tarasenko to stay hot if they want to beat teams like the Predators and the Winnipeg Jets.
NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 08: Robby Fabbri #15 of the St. Louis Blues celebrates his goal against the New York Islanders and is joined by Vladimir Tarasenko #91 at the Barclays Center on December 8, 2016 in Brooklyn. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)