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Canucks at Blues preview: Will Tarasenko return?

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The forward has missed the last two games with an upper body injury.

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Vancouver Canucks Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Good news, everyone: Vladimir Tarasenko participated in yesterday’s optional skate. The Blues have been winning without him, but three straight wins in overtime certainly is a hard way to climb up the playoff standing ladder.

And the Blues certainly need to climb faster - the Los Angeles Kings won last night, so now the Blues sit three points behind the Ducks and Avalanche instead of two points behind LA. Swell. Luckily, none of those teams play tonight, so a win would mean that the Blues sit one point out of a playoff spot with a win tonight. It’d also boost the Blues’ odds seven and a half percent according to SportsClubStats.com. A loss would drop their odds a whopping 17.4%.

When people say “every point matters,” they’re not kidding.

Luckily the Canucks are well out of playoff contention. Hopefully the Blues can draw on some inspiration tonight and solidly take them out with a complete 60 minutes of effort. The Canucks are 26-39-9, good for second to last in the Western Conference, and are a dismal 2-7-1 in their last ten games. They’re an impressive 4-15-3 since February 2nd. Rookie standout Brock Boeser has been out since March 5th with a fracture in his lower back, so the Canucks are missing some serious firepower.

The Blues have won both games against Vancouver this season and are 7-0-1 against the Canucks in their last eight games. The Canucks defeated the Blackhawks last night 5-2, so they may be gassed - let’s hope that the Blues can take advantage of that.