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Tarasenko shines in Blues’ sweep of Kings

Let’s focus on the present, not the future.

Los Angeles Kings v St Louis Blues Photo by Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images

People can speculate if St. Louis Blues right winger and alternate captain Vladimir Tarasenko will stay or go, but I prefer to stay in the moment when it comes to NHL hockey.

Though I have to admit that I had mixed emotions about Tarasenko coming into the 2021-22 NHL season. It wasn’t because of the rumors, as I don’t really get into rumors. It was his injuries and injury-laden seasons.

Tarasenko, however, surprised me on Tuesday when the Blues hosted the Los Angeles Kings in game two of a two-game homestand. I picked him to score the first goal of the game, like some Blues fans did; but I didn’t think he’d score two goals — let alone, two in the third period. Blues winger David Perron scored the third and final goal of the game. The Blues shutout the Kings 3-0 at the Enterprise Center.

To be fair, Los Angeles is not a good team right now. The Kings’ record is 1-3-1. Kings defenseman Drew Doughty sustained a knee injury in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Dallas Stars on Friday. As a result, LA called up Austin Strand from the AHL’s Ontario Reign.

The Kings simply aren’t the same team they were when they won their first and second Stanley Cups in 2012 and 2014, respectively. I believe the Kings started to fall apart after defenseman Slava Voynov was suspended for domestic violence and he and Willie Mitchell left the team, leaving them scrambling to find an equally great second defensive pair.

Tarasenko led the Blues in their first-ever 5-0 start to open the season. Blues backup goaltender Ville Husso was perfect, stopping all 34 shots for the 3-0 shutout.

The Blues host the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday, October 28 at 7:00 pm Central.