Tarasenko looks to extend point streak as Blues host Devils
Vladimir Tarasenko's elevated play has the red-hot St. Louis Blues rapidly moving up in the standings.
Tarasenko looks to extend his point streak to a career-high nine games when the Blues bid for their season-best seventh straight victory on Tuesday against the visiting New Jersey Devils.
The 27-year-old Russian completed his fourth career regular-season hat trick by scoring 16 seconds into overtime on Sunday as St. Louis capped a home-and-home sweep of Nashville with a 5-4 win. The goal was Tarasenko's team-best 22nd of the season and 200th of his career.
"Every game is like a playoff game," Tarasenko said, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Just try to go for 100 percent and play for every win. ... It's really emotional. It's a big two points for us.
"It's time to step up for all our leaders and everybody else in this locker room. We want to get in the playoffs, so that's what we're playing for."
Tarasenko has stepped up with seven goals and five assists during his point streak for the Blues, who have benefited from a 10-2-1 stretch to move within two points of third-place Dallas in the Central Division.
"Pretty impressive," captain Alex Pietrangelo told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of Tarasenko's overtime goal on Sunday. "I think we all had a feeling there in overtime when he gets that move outside-in, you're not stopping him. We're going to need him to keep doing that. He's on a roll."
Tarasenko hasn't spared the Devils, either. He has 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in nine career encounters, with two goals and two assists coming in St. Louis' two-game season sweep in 2017-18.
Rookie Jordan Binnington likely will get the nod on Tuesday, one day after being named the NHL's First Star of the Week after posting a 3-0-0 mark with one shutout, a 1.31 goals-against average and .954 save percentage. The 25-year-old owns a 9-1-1 record with a 1.72 goals-against average and .931 save percentage in 13 appearances this season.
Ryan O'Reilly set up two goals versus the Predators on Sunday to boost his team-leading totals in assists (35) and points (55). The 28-year-old O'Reilly has 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in his past 11 games.
New Jersey salvaged the finale of a four-game homestand with a 3-2 win over Carolina on Sunday to create a bit of momentum heading into a three-game road trip. The Devils, however, are tied with Ottawa for the fewest wins on the road this season with seven.
Marcus Johansson scored twice, and former top overall pick Nico Hischier recorded three assists versus the Hurricanes.
"In the end, it's the win that counts," the 20-year-old Hischier said. "Everyone who is in the lineup has energy and wants to play well and wants to battle hard."
Hischier has seven points (three goals, four assists) in his last six contests overall. He also scored in New Jersey's 3-2 shootout loss in St. Louis on Jan. 2, 2018.
Keith Kinkaid was in net for that contest, falling to 0-3-1 with a 3.42 goals-against average and .891 save percentage in four career appearances against the Blues.
Kinkaid turned aside 33 shots on Sunday to collect his second win in his last eight outings.
Jesper Bratt has one goal and three assists during a four-game point streak for the Devils.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 12, 2019