Vladimir Tarasenko (Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)
Blues star winger Vladimir Tarasenko is still establishing himself as a bona fide NHL superstar, particularly at playoff time. But if he has more nights like the one he had Wednesday in Game 4 of St. Louis' first-round series against Minnesota, with two goals – including one astonishing breakaway goal – he'll be a household name soon enough.
The St. Louis Blues have been searching for a post-season game-breaker on offense for many years now, and although they've had some scoring issues in the first three games of their series against Minnesota, star winger Vladmir Tarasenko stepped up in a meaningful way Wednesday in Game 4 with a two-goal performance against the Wild that included a dazzling breakaway goal.
Tarasenko's first of the night (and fourth of the post-season) in Minnesota came 6:59 into the first period, when he tipped in a shot from blueliner Kevin Shattenkirk to give St. Louis a 2-0 advantage:
But Tarasenko's second of the game was a true thing of beauty. After teammate Jori Lehtera found him with a brilliant pass from the Blues zone to the Wild's blueline, Tarasenko broke free from Wild defenders Matt Dumba and Jordan Leopold, then undresses goalie Devan Dubnyk with a famous deke he's used before:
Tarasenko's speed and hand-eye coordination is astonishing, and although the Blues were scoring all over the place in a rout of the Wild in Game 4, they're going to require the 23-year-old to continue this caliber of play if they're to beat the likes of Chicago in the next round.