ST. LOUIS — Vladimir Tarasenko may have just had the most impressive season on the Blues' roster, leading the team in goals (34) and points (82), but he doesn't care much about anything he's already done this year. He's looking forward to what's next.
"It's nice to play all season long again. We had a lot of fun as a line and as a team, too. But we can talk about it after. Now we're focused on Minny and I think it's the most exciting time of the year. It's what we're playing for all season long and we're ready to play a hard series," Tarasenko said on Sunday.
Tarasenko simply playing for the Blues this season seemed like a far-fetched notion after fighting injuries and requesting a trade during the offseason. But he didn't just play for the Blues this season. He led.
He may have been "the guy" leading the Blues in goals and points this year, but the way this team is built, there are a number of players capable of being "the guy" on any given night.
The Blues had nine players score 20 or more goals in the regular season. That will make them tough to plan for in the playoffs, but Tarasenko knows the postseason is a different animal than what the team went through in the regular season.
"It's nice to have a lot of guys scoring. It's always nice to see some guys have success. We'll see how it goes in the playoffs, hopefully we can keep up the same pace. Playoff hockey is harder than the regular season, we all know this," Tarasenko said.
On a line with Pavel Buchnevich and breakout star Robert Thomas, the trio has combined for the three-highest point totals on the team and created some magic on the ice. Tarasenko said seeing their chemistry take off has been exciting.
"I think he (Thomas) played great, same as Buchy (Buchnevich), too. They've both been playing great. It's really nice and fun to play with them. We just try to play for each other. Not only Robert, but same with Buchy. We work as a three-man unit and it's been a lot of fun," Tarasenko said.
Tarasenko has played in 78 career postseason games. He knows what it takes to go all the way, helping the Blues get there in 2019. And he knows what kinds of traits teams that make it to the end excel at.
"I think as always, the winning team usually plays together and plays for each other," Tarasenko said. "So it will be a hard series for us, a hard series for them and it has to be physical. There will be a lot of fun hockey to play. They have a good team and we have a good team and I think we're ready."
There will be time to look back on Tarasenko's statement 2021-22 season once the offseason rolls around for the Blues. For now, he's laser-focused on getting his, and his teammates' names, back on the greatest trophy in sports.
"I just hope to see us winning another Cup. That's the end goal. It doesn't really matter who scores in the playoffs. I think we learned that in '19. We just have one goal here, and that's what we play for," Tarasenko said.