The St. Louis Blues are currently tied in their Western Conference Final series with the San Jose Sharks. They can thank timely depth scoring and solid goaltending. They need more out of some of their stars, however. Namely Brayden Schenn and Vladimir Tarasenko.
Tarasenko has just seven points in 15 playoff games, two in his last five games. Schenn has had an even worse time with four points in 15 games. He’s pointless in his last eight games.
The Blues need more from these guys if they want to top the Sharks and have a chance at the Stanley Cup.
Depth Players Contributing
During their playoff run thus far, the Blues have had a lot of contributions from players lower down in the lineup. Unlikely heroes have stepped up in key moments. Pat Maroon sent them to the second round with a double overtime goal. Robert Thomas has been solid in his first NHL playoffs. And Jaden Schwartz has seemingly carried the team on his back after a tough regular season.
It seems long ago that Schwartz was having trouble finding the back of the net. Schwartz found the back of the net just 11 times during the regular seasons. And those goals came sporadically for him. It took seven games to score his first goal. There was a 22-game goalless drought from December 20th to February 10th.
Injury may have played a small role as Schwartz played in 69 games during the regular season. Despite that, Schwartz has certainly broken out of that slump at the perfect time. He has a point in nine of the team’s 15 playoff games, three of them multi-point games. His biggest game powered the Blues to a first-round victory over the Winnipeg Jets.
Lack Of Production From Brayden Schenn
It has been a tough go for Schenn during the playoffs. His only goal came in the fifth game of the first round. And that was after head coach Craig Berube changed up the lines. That would be Schenn’s only multi-point game as he finished with a goal and assist.
Schenn hasn’t shielded away from his physicality during the playoffs. He is credited with 44 hits thus far. However, the Blues need more offence from a player who finished third in points during the regular season.
It has not been a lack of trying for Schenn, though. He has had many opportunities to score, especially in the series against the Dallas Stars. Ben Bishop made more than a few quality stops on him during the second round. It should only be a matter of time before Schenn finds the back of the net again. And he is well aware that he needs to produce.
Vladimir Tarasenko Struggling To Score
While scoring has come slightly easier for Tarasenko, there have still been struggles for him. After finishing the regular season with 68 points, it is troubling that the points have been hard to come by. His last goal came during game four against the Stars.
The Blues tend to lean heavily on Tarasenko for points. His seven points rank sixth on the team. While that hasn’t come back to hurt the Blues yet, they will likely need him to step up soon. Logan Couture is doing all he can to take the Sharks to the Stanley Cup Final.
Martin Jones has been shaky during the playoffs, however. If Tarasenko is able to regain his scoring touch, it could be lights out for Jones once again. Relying on others to score will likely not carry the Blues all the way.
The chances are also coming for Tarasenko. He has fired 54 shots on net during the playoffs. That’s first on the team, nine ahead of his next teammate in Pietrangelo. If the Blues are also able to get their power play clicking, one can expect Tarasenko will have something to do with it.
The Blues power play sits at 14.9%. Nine teams ahead of them are no longer in the playoffs. The lack of contribution from Schenn and Tarasenko has hurt them there as well. Tarasenko was tied for the team lead in power-play points during the regular season. While he is first on the team in the playoffs, that total is only four points. Schenn has two PP points, after 12 during the season.
The Blues are seven wins away from hoisting their first Stanley Cup. They need Brayden Schenn and Vladimir Tarasenko to start contributing to help that dream become a reality.
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