CHICAGO -- The hand injury that caused Vladimir Tarasenko to miss the final 15 games of the regular season hasn't slowed him down one bit in his first extended opportunity in the NHL playoffs.
The Blues' winger got a glimpse of the postseason as a rookie a year ago when he played just five minutes, 51 seconds in Game 4 of the Western Conference first-round series against the Los Angeles Kings.
Now, the Russian will go into Game 4 of the Blues' first-round series against the Blackhawks as an impact player; blossoming on the big stage of the NHL playoffs as well as a pivotal piece of St. Louis' present and future.
"He's such a smart player," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "(He's) 22 years old. You imagine what he's going to be like as a 25- or 26-year-old. He's such a smart player; he's got composure where most people just panic like crazy."
Tarasenko proved that in the final seconds of Game 2.
With the Blues trailing 3-2 and emotions running high after captain David Backes left the ...