To get to 30, it only took 12.
As it happened Friday night at Scottrade Center, Vladimir Tarasenko’s goal total for the season reached 30 after just 12 seconds of action in the Blues game against the Anaheim Ducks. St. Louis won the game 4-3.
With the Blues for nearly half a season in 2012-2013, Tarasenko scored just eight goals. In each subsequent year of his NHL career, Tarasenko has increased his scoring output, to 21, to 37, and finally, to the big four-o last season.
Before Friday, Tarasenko still hadn’t reached 30 goals in this campaign. With just a few weeks of the season remaining, climbing to the 40-plateau in consecutive seasons would be difficult. So, he worked quickly from the jump Friday night.
After the Ducks took the opening face off, the Blues got it back quickly. A little give and go between Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz ended with Tarasenko slinging the puck past Gibson’s right shoulder from distance. Though Schwartz didn’t find the net himself Friday, he finished with two assists and a plus-4 performance on the night.
With numerous games against bottom-feeders left to play, the Blues have a manageable schedule the rest of the season. Though Tarasenko has already impressed by securing his third straight 30-goal season–the first Blue to earn that accomplishment since Keith Tkachuk from 2001-04–his team enjoys a schedule that should present plenty of opportunity to make up for lost time in his quest for another 40-goal season.
Even if he doesn’t ultimately get there, Tarasenko remains one of the elite scorers in the NHL. He’s currently tied for seventh in the league, just four goals off the pace set by Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby (34). And while Tarasenko’s final goal total won’t directly determine whether St. Louis can reach the playoffs, the more production the Blues get from their leading scorer, the easier that path becomes.
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