ST. LOUIS -- There's a new member of the Blues extended family, and his name his name is Aleksandr Tarasenko, who was born to parents Yana and Vladimir Tarasenko Tuesday morning before the Blues faced the San Jose Sharks in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final
Papa Vladimir was absent from the Blues' morning skate to be with is wife the delivery of the child, and Tarasenko, who has 17 goals and 24 points in 28 Stanley Cup Playoff games, is expected to play in Game 2. But coach Ken Hitchcock understands if family comes first.
"Yeah, he's pretty excited," Hitchcock said of Tarasenko. "Hockey's not a priority. But you know what, if something happened, he wasn't able to come here, the priority is to be with his family. We all understand that. We'll support him 100 percent on it.
"But our assumption is that he'll be here ready for game."
Dmitrij Jaskin skated in Tarasenko's spot with center Jori Lehtera and left wing Jaden Schwartz as a fill-in.
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When the NHL aired footage of the father-son duo of Gerry and Wyatt Nelson, from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, the Blues reached out to them about coming to St. Louis for a game.
Gerry, who is blind, and Wyatt along with Wyatt's mother Shannon Zook, are in town for Game 2 tonight.
|Gerry and Wyatt Nelson talk to (from left) Kelly Chase and Bernie Federko|
before Game 2 on Tuesday.
The NHL aired footage in which Gerry was in a room with the Stanley Cup, which was heartwarming in itself, became even more tear-dropping when he was able to touch the NHL's top prize.
After the Blue reached out, the family made the flight from Canada and were at the morning skate.
The original commercial showed Gerry and Wyatt attending a game of the Saskatoon Blades of the WHL, and Wyatt was doing the play-by-play for his dad to get the complete outlook, and best possible visual through the voice of his son.
Blues color analyst Kelly Chase, a former Blade himself, asked Wyatt, 12, if he'd like to come in the KMOX booth and calling part of tonight's game on the airwaves.
So make sure to tune in to KYKY 98.1-FM tonight to hear Wyatt, who was called by the Chase "the next Doc Emerick."
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If the Sharks choose to move Patrick Marleau from second-line left wing to third-line center to better balance out the Sharks lineup, there's one person who wouldn't be in favor of it.
"We don't like that match," Hitchcock said of what Sharks coach Peter DeBoer could do. "He should stay on the second line (laughter). We don't like that one.
"I'm not telling Pete how to coach, nor am I telling him how to referee. Just telling him we don't like that match."
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The Sharks' 2-1 loss in Game 1 didn't have the feel of a poorly-played game but one in which they know they have to play with some desperation in Game 2 in order to avoiding falling into an 0-2 hole.
"Very urgent," Sharks right wing Joe Pavelski said. "Every game counts, every win matters. If we can come out of here with a split, that would be a pretty good start for us. You don't want to go down in a 2-0 hole. The urgency will be there.
Said Sharks center Logan Couture: "It's another chance to redeem ourselves. We didn't play our best game in Game 1. The chances that we've had to play a better game in these playoffs, we've done that, so another opportunity for us."
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Hitchcock said playing the Sharks is much like when the Blues played the Los Angeles Kings in 2012 and 2013, and what makes their game important is clean transitioning of pucks out of the defensive zone.
"They're a team that gets the puck deep," Blues defenseman Colton Parayko said of the Sharks. "They're bringing forwards fast. We have to make sure we work together as one unit. To get the puck out is key I think. Whenever is defensemen get it up to the forwards, they can do what they do best."
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The Blues' projected lineup:
Jaden Schwartz-Jori Lehtera-Vladimir Tarasenko
Robby Fabbri-Paul Stastny-Troy Brouwer
Patrik Berglund-Alexander Steen-David Backes
Steve Ott-Kyle Brodziak-Scottie Upshall
Jay Bouwmeester-Alex Pietrangelo
Joel Edmundson-Kevin Shattenkirk
Carl Gunnarsson-Colton Parayko
Brian Elliott will start in goal. Jake Allen will be the backup.
Healthy scratches include Robert Bortuzzo, Ryan Reaves, Magnus Paajarvi, Dmitrij Jaskin, Petteri Lindbohm, Chris Butler, Peter Harrold, Ty Rattie and Anders Nilsson. The Blues report no injuries.
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The Sharks' projected lineup:
Tomas Hertl-Joe Thornton-Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau-Logan Couture-Joonas Donskoi
Melker Karlsson-Chris Tierney-Joel Ward
Dainius Zubrus-Nick Spaling-Tommy Wingels
Marc-Edouard Vlasic-Justin Braun
Paul Martin-Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon-Roman Polak
Martin Jones will start in goal. James Reimer will be the backup.
Healthy scratches include Matt Tennyson, Dylan DeMelo and Micheal Haley. Matt Nieto (undisclosed) is out.