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Tarasenko heats up as Blues get set for Game 3

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues

NASHVILLE - Vladimir Tarasenko was mostly kept off the scoresheet in the first round against the Minnesota Wild, but his coach said he was happy with the way he was battling and working hard for his teammates.

In Game 5 against Minnesota, Tarasenko finally lit the lamp and helped the Blues to an early lead. With two goals in Friday's Game 2 vs. Nashville, Tarasenko now has three goals in his last three games.

Tarasenko heating up is great if you're the St. Louis Blues. It's not so great if you're the Nashville Predators, who will host Sunday's Game 3 at 2 p.m. CT at Bridgestone Arena (NBC, Y98 FM).

The Blues are 4-0 in the playoffs when Tarasenko records at least a point.

"You want him to be a strong defensive player like he's been right from day one of the playoffs for us, but we don't need him to be just that," Yeo said of Tarasenko. "We need him to try to break guys down one-on-one, we need him to try to create things offensively for us whether it's off the rush, in the offensive zone or on the power play.

"I really appreciate the way he's fighting through right now," Yeo added. "He's obviously a key focus for (Nashville) and drawing a lot of attention from their top shutdown guys. The way he's pushing through it, and for him to find a way last game, was huge."

Video: Blues discuss 3-2 win in Game 2 vs. Nashville

Whether it's scoring goals, creating good opportunities or being a strong defensive player, Tarasenko says he just wants to do whatever it takes to help his team win.

"You can't score every game, but if you don't score every game, you have to help your team," he said. "You can't take a night off. You have to do defensive stuff. It's being a good teammate. It's playoffs. I don't really care who scores and doesn't score. We just need the wins to win the Cup."

With the best-of-7 series now tied at 1-1, the Blues get ready for a tough atmosphere in Nashville, where the Predators have won both of their playoff games this season.

Video: Mike Yeo talks with Chris Kerber before Game 3

"It's not an easy place to play. This time of year there's no building that's easy to play in," said captain Alex Pietrangelo. "We have to be ready for the environment. We know it's going to be tough. They're going to put their best effort forward. We've had some success on the road this year, so we're looking forward to it."

The Blues have won all three of their road games this postseason.

"Teams on the road just go out and play simple hockey," said Scottie Upshall. "This time of year, that's the recipe for what works. We've got to keep this thing going. We had a big win at home, which we needed. This series is a best of five now and we're excited to get to Nashville."

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