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.