Tarasenko shines in NHL debut

Tarasenko shines in NHL debut

Tarasenko shines in NHL debut

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by Scott Bierman / HockeyStL

KMOV.com

Posted on January 20, 2013 at 12:45 AM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 2:34 AM

(HockeyStL) -- It would only be natural for Vladimir Tarasenko to be nervous in his first game in the National Hockey League.  And it would only be fitting for the Russian prospect to light the lamp, so to speak, right?

It took just over six minutes for the highly touted rookie to light that lamp and jolt the Scottrade Center on Saturday.  It marked the fourteenth time in Blues history that a rookie scored in his first game -- the first since Jaden Schwartz in 2012.

Click here to watch first goal | Second goal

“It was like dreaming,” Tarasenko said after the 6-0 win over the Red Wings.

Tarasenko put the Blues ahead early on a breakaway after a Red Wings defender missed intercepting a long pass from Ian Cole deep in the Blues end to the offensive blue line.  From there Tarasenko made one head deke and scored blocker side on Jimmy Howard.

“It’s an awesome way to start the season to see that,” Alex Pietrangelo said. 

It got better.  Tarasenko would score again 29 seconds into the second period.  Similar to his first goal, Tarasenko would score after getting around a Red Wings defender one-on-one and flipping the puck blocker side again on Howard.  The goal put the Blues ahead 3-0 at the time.

It was the perfect start to a promising career for the Russian sensation.

“I was nervous before the game, but now I’m happy,” Tarasenko added.  “I want to say thanks for my teammates today.  They really help me.”

It was equally special for his teammates to see Tarasenko, nicknamed “Frank,” succeed in his first NHL game.

“It was great.  I felt like it was my first goal,” T.J. Oshie joked.  “It’s hard to tell how good of a player he is in practice, but you see him go out there and make the plays that he did.  He’s the complete package and we’re definitely glad to have him.”

Ken Hitchcock said after Tarasenko’s two-goal performance that it’s his willingness to learn which is most impressive to the longtime coach in addition to his wanting to please the veteran players.

“He’s a finisher.  He’s a really good player,”  Hitchcock said.  “The thing that impresses me about him is that he’s a really good kid.  He’s really sincere.  He had a good night tonight and he played well.  It’s nice to see a guy finish like that -- that’s really a good sign.”

Welcome to the NHL, Vladimir Tarasenko.

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