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Tarasenko, Blues look to keep rolling against Rangers

by Chris Pinkert / Notes by Dan O'Neill

NEW YORK - Not that anyone should be surprised, but Vladimir Tarasenko's knack for scoring big goals in important moments seems to get more and more impressive all the time.

The Blues forward scored midway through the third period to put the Dallas Stars out of reach in a 4-2 win in Saturday's home opener at Scottrade Center, then followed up that performance with two goals in regulation and the deciding goal in the shootout in a 3-2 win on Monday afternoon against the New York Islanders.

"It's hard not to just sit there and be in awe of his shot, to be honest with you," Blues Head Coach Mike Yeo said after Monday's game. "All three of them, including the shootout one for that matter, were equally impressive."

Through three games, Tarasenko leads the Blues with three goals and is one of seven players to have scored at least three this season (Alex Ovechkin, Brandon Saad, Wayne Simmonds, Mika Zibanejad, Connor McDavid and James Neal).

Dating back to last season, Tarasenko has a six-game point streak (five goals, four assists).

The Blues will need Tarasenko to stay hot as they look to improve to 4-0 on the season in tonight's 6 p.m. CT matchup against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden (FSMW, FSGO, KMOX 1120).

After opening the season with back-to-back losses (Oct. 5 vs. Colorado and Oct. 7 vs. Toronto), the Rangers rebounded with a shutout win over the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday. Brady Skjei and Zibanejad scored for New York, while Henrik Lundqvist made 34 saves to secure the shutout and the victory for the Rangers.

Video: Chase and Pang preview the Oct. 10 game in New York

"This is a lot of hockey for us," Yeo said. "This will be three games in less than four days, so we're going to have to find our energy quickly. We'll probably look at our lineup and see if we need to do anything to get some fresh legs in there, but it's going to be a good challenge.

"The Rangers look like they've started to find their game, so it will be a good test."

The Blues went 1-1 against the Rangers last season and have points in nine of their last 11 trips to Madison Square Garden.

OH HELLO, SHATTY

The Blues will matchup against former teammate Kevin Shattenkirk for the first time since he was traded to the Washington Capitals last February.

Shattenkirk's departure just before the trade deadline brought the Blues a first-round pick in 2017, a conditional second-round pick and forward Zach Sanford from the Capitals. Shattenkirk finished the regular season with Washington but signed a four-year contract with his hometown Rangers in July.

Video: Shattenkirk discusses facing the Blues

"I think it will be fun. It's always interesting playing against old teammates and guys you've been so close with for so long," Shattenkirk said. "I've been away from there for what feels like a long time now, so that might make it easier to settle in, and playing them here at home is going to help, too. But it's always fun to compete against your friends."

Shattenkirk spent parts of seven seasons with the Blues from 2011-17, recording 258 points, which ranks sixth among defensemen in franchise history. He also scored 32 power-play goals, which ranks fifth all time among Blues defensemen.

BLUE NOTES

The Blues have started the season 3-0 for just the fifth time in franchise history, but third time in the last five seasons.

Alex Pietrangelo has a seven-game point streak dating back to last season (four goals, seven assists).

Carter Hutton will make his first start of the season tonight. He is 2-1-0 with a 1.63 goals-against average and a .945 save-percentage in his career against the Rangers.

The Blues went 6-for-6 on the penalty kill in Monday's 3-2 shootout win against the Islanders.

Blues defensemen have accounted for four of the team's 11 goals this season. Last season, the Blues got 35 goals from defensemen.

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