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Blues Begin Home-and-Home with Devils

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues

NEWARK, NJ - The Blues have moved on from last night’s game, but it seems everyone is still talking about Vladimir Tarasenko’s stunning second period goal at Madison Square Garden.

And why wouldn’t they be?

Without a doubt, Tarasenko escaping three Rangers and tapping in a one-handed goal past New York’s Cam Talbot is a top candidate for the NHL’s Goal of the Year despite being just 11 games into the start of the season.

“You’re amazed. It’s good for him, but I think it’s really good for the game,” Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said Tuesday. “You wake up this morning and you’re seeing it on FOX, you’re seeing it on MSG, you’re seeing it on ESPN, TSN…it’s exciting.”

Despite the excitement surrounding last night’s game that had a little bit of everything, the Blues are focused tonight on beginning a home-and-home series with the Devils (6-3-2) at 6:30 p.m. (NBC Sports Network, KMOX 1120 AM).

The Blues are looking to extend their five-game winning streak, which is the best active streak in the League.

“There was a lot of energy in yesterday’s game that we’re going to have to get out quickly and get playing,” Hitchcock said. “It’s not exactly like we had long travel to get here, so it’s a little bit of a different feeling. Like anything else, when you have a team that’s been sitting around for three days that’s rested, I think the first period is critical. For us, our experience from a back-to-back game in Anaheim is going to help us here. We’ve got to be a little bit more ready for the first period to play our game and keep it simple. Let the game flow from there.

“The first period for me is everything.”

DEVIL IN THE DETAILS

New Jersey rallied for a 3-2 victory Saturday against the injury-depleted Columbus Blue Jackets, who had nine players out of the lineup due to injury or illness.

The Devils are dealing with a few injuries of their own: Mike Cammalleri (jaw), Martin Havlat (lower-body) and Jordin Tootoo (foot) are all likely out tonight.

Aside from Paul Stastny (upper-body) and T.J. Oshie (concussion) out, there’s nothing of note for the Blues on the injury / illness front. Hitchcock said Dmitrij Jaskin will play while Magnus Paajarvi will sit out tonight.

In goal, Jake Allen will make his first career start against an Eastern Conference team. He’s 2-1-0 this season with a 1.34 goals-against average, a .944 save-percentage and one shutout.

HOT VS. THE DEVILS

The Blues have won four of their last five meetings with the Devils.

Alexander Steen has registered five goals in his last six games against New Jersey. At Prudential Center, he has four goals in five career games.

David Backes has a four-game assist streak (four assists) against the Devils. Barret Jackman has five assists in his last six against New Jersey.

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