Vladimir Tarasenko isn’t going to forget his first NHL game anytime soon. The Russian youngster proved every bit as good as advertised, scoring two goals and helping lead his St. Louis Blues past the Detroit Red Wings. Tarasenko twice victimized Wings’ defenseman Kyle Quincey, scoring at even strength and then later on the power play.
The Blues have to be pleased with what they saw last night, as their 2010 first round draft pick’s speed and stickhandling were on full display. The line of Tarasenko, Alex Steen and Andy McDonald spent more time on the ice in power play situations than anyone else on the team, showing that coach Ken Hitchcock already likes that combination. While outshooting the Red Wings by a 36-14 margin, the Blues worked their way to an impressive 6-0 win asTarasenko’s play drew rave reviews from teammates and opponents alike.
Tarasenko played for SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL during the lockout, where his teammates included Ilya Kovalchuk of the New Jersey Devils and Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets. He scored 14 goals and added 17 assists for 31 points in 31 games. In four KHL seasons, Tarasenko had shown continued improvement, making Blues fans anxious for the day when he would finally come play in North America. After last night’s debut, the wait appears to have been worth it.
Next up for the Blues is a trip to Tennessee on Monday to take on their Central Division foe Nashville Predators.