And then what happened, Marcus Foligno?
Vladimir Tarasenko and a natural hat trick happened, that’s what. If the Blues put the final nail in the Wild’s coffin tonight, we can all thank Tarasenko’s third period heroics for getting the team over a challenging game five hump. The Wild may have Kirill Kaprizov, who is a generational talent for that team. He’s been a one-man wrecking crew, and if he had his way, the Wild would’ve built on his two first-period goals. Unfortunately for the Wild, when Tarasenko has a night, he has a night.
Tonight the Blues are going to rely on Tarasenko to get the fourth win in this series - but it may be a better game plan to get some scoring from a player other than the five that’ve scored for the Blues this round. Whatever the Blues’ scoring technique, their defense is healthier (though clearly not at 100%) and Jordan Binnington’s leash is getting longer after two back to back wins.
“Binner, he’s an accountable guy,” Berube said Wednesday, back in St. Louis after the Blues’ 5-2 victory Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. “He always has been. At the time, he knew that he probably had to play better. I voiced my confidence in him and the team.”
Or... is it the fact that he’s back to the same calm and collected goaltender that we saw during the Cup run?
“Like I said, he’s a pretty calm, cool customer. He doesn’t let too much get to him. He’s got a lot of confidence.”
When Binnington’s confidence dips, you get outbursts that take away from his normal marble facade. He hasn’t had an outburst for a while, and the longer between stick swings the better.
Whatever the cause for Binnington’s success, and for at least five Blues’ to have themselves an offensive explosion, the team is poised to move on to round two and the Colorado Avalanche. A win tonight goes to show how overrated home ice advantage is sometimes, but more importantly, a win tonight gets the Blues a little more rest before the second round and a much tougher opponent.