During the National Hockey League regular seasons of 2019-20 and 2020-21, we did not see the greatness of Vladimir Tarasenko of Yaroslavl, Russia. Due to various shoulder injuries, Tarasenko only played 34 games in two seasons, and was left unprotected in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft.
The fact that the Seattle Kraken did not pick up Tarasenko ended up being great news for Blues fans, as in 2021-22, the veteran right winger has had a great bounce back season. In 67 games, Tarasenko has 31 goals and 41 assists for 72 points. That is after only having seven goals and 17 assists for 24 points from 2019 to 2021.
On Thursday, Tarasenko had his sixth NHL career hat trick as the Blues defeated the Buffalo Sabres 6-2. His first goal was the game-winning goal at 7:18 of the second period from Pavel Buchnevich and Robert Thomas to put the Blues up 3-2. Tarasenko then scored for the Blues at 12:45 of the second period from Torey Krug and Thomas to put St. Louis up 4-2, and then scored an empty netter with two minutes and 28 seconds left from Buchnevich and Thomas to close out the scoring.
Tarasenko’s prior hat tricks came in a 4-3 Blues win over the Dallas Stars on October 28, 2014, in a 5-2 Blues win over the Los Angeles Kings on December 16, 2014, in a 4-1 Blues win over the Minnesota Wild on April 18, 2015, in a 5-4 Blues win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on December 1, 2016, and in a 5-4 Blues win over the Nashville Predators on February 10, 2019. Tarasenko’s hat trick against the Wild came in game two of the Western Conference quarterfinals.
In addition to the 72 points, Tarasenko is a +7 with 28 penalty minutes, 20 power-play points, one shorthanded point, nine game-winning goals, 216 shots on goal, four faceoff wins, 43 blocked shots, 74 hits, 17 takeaways, and 27 giveaways. The Blues meanwhile are looking to win their second Stanley Cup in franchise history after winning in 2019. Their current odds according to Betonline is +2800.