UPDATE: I guess this answers our question.
The California road trip is halfway over. So far, the Blues are 3-0, winning all three games by just one goal, and there’s a lot to like from those three games. The Blues have scored 15 goals in those three games, and Wednesday night’s game was a romp for the power play, which went 3-for-3. After these three games, the Blues are 9th in the league with 3.33 goals for a game, and their penalty kill and power play have both improved to 24th and 23rd in the league, respectively.
I know that doesn’t sound good, but considering how the Blues’ special teams began the season, improvement should be celebrated. It should be even more celebrated because the improvement is coming without several key players for the Blues.
One key player whose return on this road trip has been teased is Vladimir Tarasenko. Tarasenko played only two games against the San Jose Sharks before being sidelined in the playoff bubble. One successful shoulder surgery later, and his return has been speeding closer. Before the road trip, coach Craig Berube said that chances were very strong that Tarasenko would return before everything was said and done. The Blues have two games agains Los Angeles and one more against the Sharks before they return to St. Louis, and it would be a welcome sight to see Tarasenko make his comeback during one of these two games against the Kings.
The Kings lead the season series three games to one, and have been a tough nut for the Blues to crack after St. Louis’ 4-2 win to begin the series. The Blues were shut out in game three, and scored just one goal in game four. The Kings have been a pleasant surprise in the West Division this season. They strung together a six game win streak and right now sit just three points out of the fourth playoff spot.
If Tarasenko returns tonight, it could go a long way towards swinging the season series back in the Blues’ direction.