St. Louis Blues' Hot Start Helped By League-Best Power Play

By Jonathan Katje
Rob Grabowski – USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Blues‘ 2-1 record early into this 2013 NHL season hardly reflects how dominant they have been so far. After opening the season with a 6-0 beating of the Detroit Red Wings, the Blues got a shootout win over the Nashville Predators before suffering their first loss, 3-2, to the Chicago Blackhawks. A league-best power play, strong penalty kill and the emergence of rookie Vladimir Tarasenko have all been big factors in St. Louis’ success this season.

The Blues have scored six goals on the power play in their three games, with a 66.7 percent success rate. Chris Stewart has two power play goals, while T.J. Oshie, Tarasenko, Andy McDonald and Patrik Berglund each have one. The offensive-minded play of defensemen Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Pietrangelo has helped the team while on the man advantage. Shattenkirk is tied for the team lead in points with five (all assists), while Pietrangelo has a goal and two assists.

Tarasenko’s skill is proving to be a huge asset for the Blues in all situations. The speedy Russian winger has thrived playing alongside Alex Steen, and has thrived on the power play. His three goals and five points lead the team, and his 12 shots reflect how many chances he has created so far.

Next up for the Blues is another game against the division rival Predators (1-0-2). The Blues took a 4-3 shootout win in their first meeting against the Predators, and will look to keep their power play humming along tonight. The Predators will likely send out Pekka Rinne to face off against Jaroslav Halak, and with these two team’s history of tight games, expect another contest decided by one goal possibly in overtime or a shootout.

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