Sometimes your best players do not always get on the stat sheet. That was the case for St. Louis Blues star Vladimir Tarasenko in Game 2.
The St. Louis Blues played one of their most inconsistent and lackluster games of the playoffs in Game 2 against the Dallas Stars. In spite of that, they still managed to give themselves a chance to win the game.
If not for some big mistakes in big moments, perhaps the Blues might have stolen that game. That is neither here nor there at this point, however.
One of the interesting things was how well Vladimir Tarasenko played. You might not know that if you only saw a boxscore however.
Looking at the boxscore, Tarasenko came up empty on the pure scoring end. Nevertheless, he was a force on the offensive end of the ice.
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Tarasenko might have had no goals and no points, but he was getting the puck to the net. Tarasenko fired five shots on goal and several were of a good quality.
It was not just his overall offensive game that was impressive, but his possession skills too. Tarasenko was juking and jiving around guys and making lots of guys look silly.
We constantly whine about how it feels like NBC never has anything good to say about a St. Louis player. Even the studio guys of NBC were impressed with Tarasenko in that game.
Tarasenko was strong on his zone entries and even stronger on the puck. He was constantly driving down the wing with a player right on him and stopping on a dime, allowing the defender to blow past and give him some space to view the ice for a pass or shot.
Those are the kinds of things we have been begging him to do with more consistency. He has so much skill and it feels like he does not always utilize it.
There are so many times Tarasenko passes up a good shooting opportunity for a pass just because he is unselfish. There are other times he just sort of glides around, hoping the puck will find him instead of putting his stamp on the game.
That was anything but the case in Game 2 against Dallas. Tarasenko was not fortunate enough to get on the board in this game and people will say your best player needs to score. That’s an oversimplification. He did just about everything else he needed to besides scoring and judging him just on not getting a goal is too harsh given how well he played overall.
Tarasenko was solid in the offensive zone. He was also throwing his weight around too. He was credited for three hits, which is not really his game, but a realization of how things need to be in the playoffs.
The only drawback to his game was on the power play, which could be said of several player. Tarasenko led all players with over seven minutes of ice time on the man-advantage and really did not help generate anything.
Still, he was a force at five-on-five. If he can continue to play like that, the Stars are not going to be able to keep him off the board.
He needs to keep his emotions in check. Getting suckered into a penalty by Jamie Benn is not something he needs to go in for.
Still, I’ll take an engaged Tarasenko any day. He is invested in this series and now just needs the goals as a reward for his hard play.