The St. Louis Blues extended the Edmonton Oilers’ misery with an 8-3 beating on Tuesday night. But who would have thought the beating would have come not only from the blades of the stick, but from Vladimir Tarasenko’s fists, too? The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Tom Timmermann highlights that Tarasenko’s Gordie Howe hat trick last night was just another sign that the Russian superstar is willing to do whatever it takes to keep the Blues as the top of the Western Conference. Tarasenko, along with winning the fight, added two goals, two helpers, and inspired the bench with his willingness to drop the gloves. Though its still early in the season and teams can fade down the stretch, there’s no denying that this tight-knit Blues squad is doing everything right so far.
- The Athletic’s Dom Luszczyszyn writes (paid content) that no one saw the Winnipeg Jets being a top-five team at the start of the season. Even with a 79% chance to make the playoffs, according to Luszczyszyn’s projections, he does point out that some red flags exist despite the Jets’ hot start. Winnipeg is ranked in the bottom half of the league in Score-Adjusted Corsi. Additionally, as Luszczyszyn dives into the advanced stats, it reveals that the Jets are trending in the wrong direction statistically–indicating that the team is due to regress from its hot start. Luszczyszyn also presents some numbers that show a cause for concern about Blake Wheeler, who may be seeing his play decline at a quicker rate than many could have predicted.
- Lance Bouma has been a great addition and his simple approach to the game is paying dividends for the Blackhawks writes the Chicago Sun-Times Mark Lazerus. Though his scoresheet stats aren’t exactly setting the league ablaze, it’s his defensive responsibility that is getting the attention. Lazerus reports that aside from the physical side of his game, it’s his ability to advance the puck out of trouble that has kept him as a mainstay in coach Joel Quenneville’s lineup. Bouma isn’t going to get fancy–instead he simply pushes to get the puck out of the defensive zone as quickly as he can. This simplicity, Lazerus writes, is something that some of his teammates could take note of.