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Sunday's win over Chicago was a big statement for the Blues, who will have to play their chief rivals one more time before the season is out. The important thing right now is getting Vladimir Tarasenko back healthy for the postseason.
Vladimir Tarasenko limped off the ice Monday, which probably has Blues fans everywhere holding their breath. It's difficult to overstate Tarasenko's importance to this team. The Blues are in a real fight here to maintain home ice in the first round.
Three straight losses to teams in playoff positioning may be cause for concern, but more concerning is the loosened grip on the Central Division lead after wresting it from the Predators. Two games remaining against the improving Blackhawks in the regular season loom large ahead of the postseason.
Some inconsistency in scoring over the last month may be somewhat of a concern, but the Blues have had the defense and goaltending to overcome that without much problem. Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk is due back from injury soon, which should help boost the offensive attack.
The Blues have been a top team pretty much all season long. Nashville's recent cold streak showed some cracks, which is leaving the door open for St. Louis to potentially grab first place in the Central with three games in hand.
The Blues' defense has been pretty solid, but it gets better with a veteran like Zbynek Michalek. They also get some veteran help from Olli Jokinen, who should play a limited role. The Michalek addition should be a really nice one for St. Louis.
The gap between the Preds and Blues continues to widen, but the Blues remain one of the top scoring teams in the NHL and Brian Elliott has played adequately enough to help this team look like a Cup contender.
The Blues are really keeping the pressure on Nashville's hold on the top spot in the Central. St. Louis has 10 wins in their past 12 games, but is still four points back of their divisional leaders.
The Blues followed their seven-game winning streak with a really ugly loss to Columbus and a better effort, but same result against Chicago. They're still 12-2-1 over their last 15 games, though. Pretty good, eh?
The hottest team in the NHL is now just two points away from catching up to the Predators for the top of the Central and the league. The loss of Kevin Shattenkirk will challenge them, though.
Preseason Power Rankings
New addition Paul Stastny is making his presence felt immediately with four points through two games. The forward depth on this roster should lead to a quick rise up this list.
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