Hitch: Tarasenko is ‘learning hard lessons’ as Blues struggle to score

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The St. Louis Blues haven’t scored a goal in the last 150 minutes and 45 seconds of this Western Conference Final. They’ve been shut out in consecutive games and now trail the series 2-1 to the San Jose Sharks.

As a team, the Blues have gone into a funk.

Among those struggling to produce is 24-year-old Vladimir Tarasenko, who had a 40-goal regular season and has seven goals and 13 points in these playoffs but hasn’t recorded a point in three games of this series.

“The thing that could help him, we can’t give him, which is more experience. Can’t give it to him,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock told reporters following Thursday’s defeat. “He’s learning hard lessons, like any young player.

“As you experience this as a younger player, you’re going to have to learn to fight through a lot if you expect to score. We would like him to learn that lesson a day from now, but we’re not sure on the time frame.

“Some guys never learn it. Some guys can’t do it. Some guys learn that lesson and they really become accomplished players, especially scoring players. But he’s going to have to fight through everything if he expects to score a goal and contribute offensively.”

So far in this series, Sharks goalie Martin Jones hasn’t faced more than 26 shots in a single game. He stopped 22 shots in Game 3.

On Thursday, Hitchcock pulled Brian Elliott after he allowed three goals on 14 shots, bringing in Jake Allen to finish off the remainder of the game.

With Game 4 on Saturday, the Blues bench boss admits he may be facing another decision on who his starting goalie will be for that contest.

“Yeah, I’m going to think about that one,” he said. “Got two good goalies. Pretty good choice. Can’t lose on either one.”