Tarasenko still trying to bust loose
On Tuesday, the Blues finally received a superior performance in net. But will the good times keep rolling in the team’s last test before the All-Star break?
Ken Hitchcock’s troops visit Central Division rival Minnesota tonight, with an 8 p.m. ET puck drop at Xcel Energy Center. Online sports book Bovada.lv gives the Wild odds of -160 to emerge victorious. St. Louis, on the other hand, represents a +130 underdog.
Sabotaged by middling goaltending all season, the Note benefited from a thoroughly surprising gem earlier this week. Carter Hutton blanked the NHL’s deadliest offense, Pittsburgh, 3-0 to snap a three-game losing skid. Hitchcock saw two of his fourth-liners, Ryan Reaves and Scott Upshall, tally goals in that affair.
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Still, the veteran coach needs his most prolific scorer to rise to the occasion. Vladimir Tarasenko hasn’t notched a marker since Jan. 7.The Blues’ inability to get consistent contributions from playmaking forwards Alexander Steen, Jaden Schwartz and Jori Lehtera continues to obstruct the three-time All-Star’s room to roam on the ice.
Don’t expect Minnesota to feel sorry for No. 91, either. Bruce Boudreau’s club owns wins in 20 of the past 25 contests. Only Chicago can claim more points in the Western Conference. Yet we expect St. Louis’ best effort, particularly on the defensive end, in a key spot on the road.
THURSDAY NHL FREE PICK: BLUES/WILD UNDER 5 GOALS