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Bruins at Blues Preview: Blues must win again without Tarasenko

The team’s sniper is out for a second straight game.

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Boston Bruins Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Now I know that this may come as a surprise to you, but tonight’s game is a (say it with me, everyone) must win game. According to SportsClubStats, a Blues win boosts their playoff chances 12%. A Calgary win over the Ducks could help out about 4%. A Boston win and an Anaheim win have the same effects in the opposite direction.

The Bruins are a powerhouse this season, behind only the Tampa Bay Lightning in the East. They’re 7-2-1 in their last ten games played and it will take a decisive and focused Blues team to power through them.

Luckily, the Blues have the First Star of the Week, Alex Pietrangelo, to help them out. Petro had nine points last week, including four (!) against the Blackhawks - one of which was an overtime winning goal. Unfortunately, the Blues will be without Vladimir Tarasenko for the second straight game. Tarasenko was elbowed in the head Saturday night against the Rangers, and Mike Yeo is keeping him out of this game as a precaution.

The last time these two teams met, the Blues lost 3-1 on February first against a Bruins team that was next to unstoppable. The situation hasn’t changed much in the past month and a half. The Bruins are still next to unstoppable, but it can be done. The Blues will have to find a way to get past the Bruins top-ten powerplay and penalty kill units. The Blues have been a bit better on the power play as of late - they’re out of the league’s last place spot - but that will need to improve immensely tonight.

The Blues look like they’ve turned their skid around, going 4-1 in their last five. Those four wins haven’t been easy, and tonight won’t be either, but at this point in the season every single win is necessary.

No pressure.