The lead was stable–the Blues were going to win the game. Yet as time wound down in the third period of Monday’s 4-1 win over Arizona, St. Louis’ top line forwards ran a frenetic odd-man rush with one purpose clearly in mind: get Jaden Schwartz a hat trick.
Schwartz had already notched two goals on the night, authoritatively pushing his scoring slump into the rearview mirror. But linemates Alexander Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko had a golden opportunity to make Schwartz’s night even more special–and they knew it.
“I was waiting for a long time,” Steen said as he tried to find an opening to slip Schwartz the puck during the three-on-one break. “I feel like (Oliver Ekman-Larrson) knew I was going to him, too–he just kind of leapt over to him. I tried going back to Tank as quick as I could to see if he could hit (Schwartz) but–we tried.”
It didn’t work. Tarasenko’s forced pass to Schwartz wasn’t timed quite right; the puck bounced off Schwartz’s skate and the sequence left Tarasenko with an open net. He reluctantly buried the puck, showing no joy after the goal. Instead, Tarasenko skated toward Schwartz and shrugged his shoulders–and apologized for not being able to finish the deal.
Tarasenko apologizes for the goal ... not to Smith, but to Schwartz. LOL— CrossCheckRaise (@CrossCheckRaise) March 28, 2017
For his part, Schwartz was none too concerned about the failed mission to manufacture a hat trick for him. In fact, Tarasenko probably took it harder than Schwartz did.
“Yeah, that don’t matter,” Schwartz grinned. “These two points are all the matter right now. I knew Vladi was looking for me, but hat tricks aren’t something you worry about.”
On the bright side, Blues fans in the sold-out Scottrade Center crowd saw a good win–and got the keep their hats.
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