Vladimir Tarasenko started the scoring for the St. Louis Blues on Saturday, and he finished it, too.
The 23-year-old winger, a rising star for the Blues, recorded his first career Stanley Cup playoff hat trick and St. Louis evened its series with the Minnesota Wild thanks to a 4-1 win in Game 2.
Tarasenko struck twice late in the first period with his goals coming less than five minutes apart to give the Blues an early lead. One came off a deflection from an Alex Steen shot, as Tarasenko was cruising in front of the net. The second, however, is one goalie Devan Dubnyk would probably like to have back.
With Dubnyk leaning slightly to his left, Tarasenko beat him with a quick shot from a bad angle to up the Blues’ lead. He added another into an empty net with 17 seconds remaining.
The hats followed.
The Wild actually had a chance to tie this game in the third period.
With less than nine minutes remaining, seconds after Charlie Coyle waltzed around T.J. Oshie and then rang his shot off the cross bar, David Backes pulled the puck off the goal line and Jake Allen covered it up with Minnesota players buzzing around his net, taking away what could’ve been the equalizer. That close to tying it up.
At the age of 28, Ben Bishop has his first career Stanley Cup playoff victory, and it evens the series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings at 1-1.
Bishop stopped 23 of 24 shots faced and the Lightning recorded a 5-1 win in Game 2 on Saturday. The series now shifts back to Detroit for Games 3 and 4, with the third game of the series going Tuesday.
After being stymied by Petr Mrazek in the series opener, the Lightning found its scoring touch, chasing Detroit’s netminder after 40 minutes and four goals allowed on 18 shots. The floodgates opened in the middle period, as Tampa Bay scored three to take complete control of the game.
Jimmy Howard took over for Mrazek in the third period and it will be interesting to see which goalie Red Wings coach Mike Babcock calls on for Game 3.
Tyler Johnson led the way offensively for Tampa Bay. He scored twice, while three of his teammates — Valtteri Filppula, Nikita Nesterov and Steven Stamkos — all recorded multi-point games.
Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley has been fined $50,000 by the NHL for what the league calls “his responsibility” for a line brawl that broke out late in the third period of Game 2 between his team and the Vancouver Canucks on Friday.
A total of 132 penalty minutes were handed out in the melee.
The league also announced that Deryk Engelland’s game misconduct for instigating a fight in the final minutes was rescinded.
This isn’t the first time Hartley has been disciplined for such an incident. In January of 2014, he was fined $25,000 for what the league called a “premeditated fight” after another line brawl started between the Flames and Canucks right off the opening faceoff at Rogers Arena.