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Conference Final

Tarasenko getting in gear for Blues entering Game 4 against Sharks

Forward has one point in three straight, working harder away from puck

by Louie Korac / NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- Vladimir Tarasenko is starting to find his stride for the St. Louis Blues against the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Final.

The forward, who led the Blues in goals for the fifth consecutive season with 33, has one point in three straight Stanley Cup Playoff games (one goal, two assists) after scoring one goal in his previous six. That bodes well for St. Louis, which enters Game 4 at Enterprise Center on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVAS) trailing the best-of-7 series 2-1 following a 5-4 overtime loss in Game 3.

"Games like this, we have to score if we get chances to put the other team away too, but I feel like we're moving in the right direction with forecheck on the puck possession and creating more chances 5-on-5," Tarasenko said Thursday. "We need to bring the lessons from past games and bring it to Game 4. I feel like we create some stuff and hopefully we'll continue to do this."

 

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Though Tarasenko is minus-9 in 16 postseason games, he has eight points (six goals, two assists).

"I don't think it's the time of the year when you count how many points you've got and how many games," Tarasenko said. "[It's a] big upset after yesterday's loss, but I feel like as a line too, we created a lot of chances, which we need to score more."

Tarasenko had an assist and one shot on goal in Game 1, late in the third period of a 6-3 loss. Blues coach Craig Berube said he wanted to see Tarasenko do more away from the puck.

"I thought he improved in Game 2 and Game 3 got better," Berube said. "He made that great shot and scored a goal, which is huge. He's working hard without the puck, and that's a big thing. In the playoffs, every person, every individual has to work extremely hard without the puck. That's part of it all. You have to work hard with the puck, you have to work just as hard without it."

Tarasenko responded with six shots in Game 2 and scored the second of St. Louis' four second-period goals in Game 3.

"Game 1 wasn't the best game, but you need to find ways in the playoffs to create some stuff," Tarasenko said. "It's a tight game, tighter than a regular-season game, a little bit different too, but every team plays in the same game too. You just need to fight through this, fight for [the] puck and create some chances, especially down low, because there's not many rush chances like we used to have."

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