ST. LOUIS -- There was a reason the St. Louis Blues wanted to move up in the 2010 NHL Draft. A certain Russian sniper had caught their eye that they felt was worth a gamble on a first-round pick.
The Blues already had the 14th pick and selected Jaden Schwartz but moved up to select a left-handed forward named Vladimir Tarasenko by trading first-round defensive prospect David Rundblad to Ottawa.
Judging by Tarasenko's debut, the Blues like the results thus far. Tarasenko finally made his long-anticipated debut Saturday night, and the native of Novosibirsk, Russia, didn't disappoint. Tarasenko scored on his first two NHL shots, quickly attracting chants of "Tara-senko!" as the Blues dominated the Detroit Red Wings from start to finish in a 6-0 opening-night victory at Scottrade Center.
The Blues, coming off a Central Division title, wasted little time ridding themselves of the foul taste left by a playoff sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings last spring.
The Blues, with high hopes in the abbreviated season, want to mirror what their Saturday opponent has accomplished for decades. In order to be respected as one of the best, you have to beat the best. On opening night, a statement was made ... at least for one game.
Tarasenko scored a pair of highlight-reel goals, both going in alone on Wings goalie Jimmy Howard, who did his best to keep the score respectable. Chris Stewart added a pair of power-play goals, T.J. Oshie scored a shorthanded and Patrik Berglund added a power-play goal. Jaroslav Halak breezed to his 23rd career shutout and 14th with the Blues, stopping all 14 shots and becoming the first Blue to record a shutout on opening night. Alex Steen, Kevin Shattenkirk, Alex Pietrangelo and Oshie each added two assists.
The Blues had all the legs and momentum rolling their way in the opening period, getting goals from Tarasenko and Stewart. The train continued to roll over the final two periods.
Tarasenko joined fellow 2010 first-round pick Schwartz in scoring score in his first NHL game and on his first NHL shot -- Schwartz did it on March 17, 2012, at Tampa Bay -- taking a stretch pass from Ian Cole and snapping a rooftop shot over Howard's paddle for a 1-0 lead 6:36 into the game. But Tarasenko outdid his teammate by scoring on his first two shots in the same game. Schwartz also scored on his first two NHL shots but in separate games.
Stewart, who had a disappointing season with only 15 goals last season following back-to-back 28-goal campaigns, scored a power-play goal at 14:44 for a 2-0 lead as the Blues blitzed the Red Wings, outshooting them 17-2.
Tarasenko undressed Wings defenseman Kyle Quincey before lifting a backhander over Howard for a 3-0 lead in the second. Oshie took a long stretch pass from Pietrangelo and snapped a shot through Howard for a shorthanded goal late in the second. The shots (27-7) and score (4-0) were very indicative of how the first 40 minutes were played.
Howard's night ended when Stewart got his second early in the third, the Blues' third power-play goal on four chances. Howard stopped 23 shots before he was replaced by Jonas Gustavsson.
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