Not the news St. Louis wanted to hear — on Wednesday, the club confirmed that leading goalscorer Vladimir Tarasenko is out with a lower-body injury, sustained during Monday’s 4-1 loss to Vancouver.
Tarasenko, who sits tied for fifth in the NHL with 36 goals, didn’t practice today and appears unlikely to suit up for Thursday’s home date against Calgary. The Russian sniper’s injury comes at a bad time for the Blues — the club is just 1-3-2 in its last six games and, with 99 points, is in danger of being passed in the Central by third-place Chicago (98 points, with six games left) and current wild card holder Minnesota (95 points, with six games left).
There is a silver lining to the injury, though, in that it creates a roster spot for AHL Chicago sniper Ty Rattie. The AHL’s reigning player of the week — he had seven points in three games — Rattie has 42 points in 59 games this year and looks as though he’s on his way to St. Louis. PHT’s Dhiren Mahiban was at Wolves practice on Wednesday and confirmed Rattie was pulled off the ice, presumably so he could be shipped off to the Blues.
Update: Blues made the Rattie recall official. Also, head coach Ken Hitchcock said that Tarasenko (and fellow injured forward Alex Steen) are both day-to-day, and will be ready for the playoffs.
As if a potential injury to Vladimir Tarasenko wasn’t concerning enough for the St. Louis Blues, it was far from the only worrying thing about Monday’s 4-1 home loss to Vancouver.
Take it away, Zbynek Michalek.
“I don’t think there’s one good thing about our game right now,” the Blues’ defenseman said, per the Post-Dispatch. “We need to look in the mirror. Right now, it seems like everybody’s doing a different thing. They need to get on the same page. We’re not playing for one another.”
The Blues need to pull it together, and soon. The playoffs start in a couple of weeks and right now it looks like a first-round matchup with Chicago, the same team that eliminated St. Louis in last year’s first round.
With just one win in their last six, the Blues host Calgary on Thursday.
Here’s Michalek and Hitch:
The St. Louis Blues must wait at least another night to clinch a playoff spot, but that was far from the most troubling news from a 4-1 loss against the Vancouver Canucks.
The severity of the injury is currently unclear, but fans are in high alert over the condition of Vladimir Tarasenko, who suffered a lower-body issue on Monday. We may not know more about the situation until Tuesday (or maybe later).
NHL.com’s Lou Korac noticed the Russian star walking with a limp:
Information from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford wasn’t much rosier:
It stands as a cause for concern, although walking with a limp is probably better than not walking at all.
All the latest from the blue paint…
Hiller back in for Calgary
The Flames will start Jonas Hiller for the second time in as many nights on Monday when they take on the Stars in Dallas.
Hiller went nearly two weeks without a start before Flames head coach Bob Hartley gave him the nod yesterday in Nashville, and Hartley’s decision proved a wise one; Hiller stopped 27 of 29 shots in a crucial 5-2 victory, pushing Calgary past L.A. for third place in the Pacific Division.
Prior to Hiller taking the net, Karri Ramo was the Flames’ goalie of record in five straight games, going 2-1-2 over that stretch.
For the Stars, Kari Lehtonen is likely to be back in goal after stopping 33 of 36 shots in an OT win over Vancouver on Saturday.
Bolts at Habs: Ben Bishop vs. Carey Price
Canucks at Blues: Eddie Lack vs. Brian Elliott
Kings at ‘Hawks: Jonathan Quick (probable) vs. (No Chicago starter yet)
Oilers at Avs: Richard Bachman vs. Semyon Varlamov
Sabres at Coyotes: (No Buffalo starter yet) vs. Mike Smith
A regulation or overtime win tonight over the visiting Vancouver Canucks will give the St. Louis Blues a spot in the playoffs for the fourth straight season.
And to help their chances, forward T.J. Oshie will return to the lineup after missing Saturday’s 4-2 loss to Columbus with the flu.
Alex Steen, however, is out after getting hurt versus the Jackets.
Even with just one win in their last five, the Blues still have a reasonable shot at catching Nashville and winning the Central Division. But per Sports Club Stats, their most likely first-round opponent is Chicago.