Hardly anything went wrong for the St. Louis Blues in Saturday’s season opener against the Detroit Red Wings. The Blues saw the emergence of a young superstar, a successful power play and a team effort as they easily rolled to a 6-0 win over their Central Division foe. After raising their division championship banner from last season, the Blues got right back to work and look like a team that could be headed back to the playoffs this season.
The NHL debut of Russian youngster Vladimir Tarasenko did not disappoint. St. Louis’ 2010 first round draft pick scored twice, and consistently flashed his speed and stickhandling skill. Chris Stewart also scored twice, and may have finally rediscovered the scoring touch he had a few seasons back with the Colorado Avalanche. Patrik Berglund also added a goal, while Alex Steen and Alex Pietrangelo each chipped in two assists.
The Blues also converted four of their five power play chances, while stopping the Red Wings on all four of theirs. T.J. Oshie even broke free to put home a shorthanded goal in the second period. He also assisted on Stewart and Berglund’s power play goals.
Jaroslav Halak was not tested much, but responded when he needed to – anytime he faces just 14 shots, it is important that he stop all of them. The 36-14 overall edge in shots on goal showed just how far apart these teams were last night. The Blues outworked the Wings in all facets of the game, consistently generating scoring chances while limiting the Wings in their own zone.
Up next for the Blues is a showdown with another Central Division rival, the Nashville Predators, on Monday. If they hope to return to the playoffs, their division matchups are especially important in this shortened season. Saturday night’s win was a good start, now they need to show they can go out and put on a repeat performance. Halak is likely to get the start, facing Pekka Rinne of the Predators.