Blues rely too heavily on Tarasenko's line in loss to Predators
St. Louis Blues Vladimir Tarasenko (R) of Russia congratulates Jori Lehtera of Finland after scoring a goal in the first period against the Nashville Predators at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on November 8, 2014. UPI/Bil Greenblatt By BILL GREENBLATT
St. Louis Blues Vladimir Tarasenko of Russia skates twords the bench in the first period against the Nashville Predators at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on November 8, 2014. UPI/Bil Greenblatt By BILL GREENBLATT
By Ashley Jones
(HockeyStL) – Jori Lehtera and Vladimir Tarasenko teamed up once against Saturday night to score a goal for the St. Louis Blues. Lehtera found the back of the net while Jaden Schwartz and Tarasenko assisted on the only goal the Blues scored in their 2-1 loss to the Nashville Predators.
And there lies the problem.
The Blues relied too heavily on the Lehtera-Tarasenko-Schwartz line to win them the game. Sure that game plan worked in Thursday’s win over the New Jersey Devils, where those three were involved in three of the team’s four goals.
Tarsenko, who had three shots and one blocked shot Thursday, was held to one shot on goal against the Predators. Nashville took the Blues biggest weapon and rendered him ineffective.
“Quite frankly, we’re sitting on one line doing everything for us,” head coach Ken Hitchcock said following the loss, “We’re going to need a lot more from people if we expect to be good in this division.”
The Note has yet to see offensive production from Patrik Berglund, Joakim Lindstrom and whoever they decide to plug onto their line (Chris Porter, Magnus Paajarvi or Dmitrij Jaskin) while waiting for TJ Oshie to return.
The loss dropped the Blues out of first place in the Central division, one point behind the Predators, while also stopping their win streak at seven games.
“The onus is on everybody else,” Hitchcock continued, “Before we can start producing, we’ve got to spend more time in the offensive zone. When you become a one line club, like happened today, teams sit on you and we don’t want to be a one line club.”
Now the sky isn’t falling. The Blues had previously won seven consecutive games. But the Blues can’t get caught resting on their heels. They will get another chance to prove themselves against the Predators when Nashville heads back to St. Louis this coming Thursday.
Stastny gets more ice time
In his second game back, Paul Stastny saw an increased time on the ice while also attempting shots on goal. Stastny played on a line with David Backes and Alex Steen while logging four more minutes in four extra shifts Saturday than he did against the Devils Thursday.
Stastny also took three shots on goal while another was blocked.