Tarasenko, Blues top Stars in series opener

Vladimir Tarasenko added to his growing playoff resume.

Tarasenko scored two goals and the St. Louis Blues beat the Dallas Stars 3-2 Thursday night in first game of the teams’ Western Conference semifinal series.

Robby Fabbri also scored and Jordan Binnington made 27 saves for the Blues, who had lost three of four to Dallas during the regular season.

It was Tarasenko’s seventh career multi-goal game in the post-season, tying him with Bernie Federko for second-most in franchise history.

“Just God-given talent,” Blues coach Craig Berube said. “He’s a powerful guy that can skate. When he drives wide like that he’s really tough to handle.”

Jason Spezza and Jamie Benn scored for the Stars. Ben Bishop made 17 saves.

WATCH | Tarasenko leads Blues to Game 1 victory over Stars:

Vladimir Tarasenko scored a pair of goals as the St. Louis Blues beat the Dallas Stars 3-2 in the opening game of their 2nd-round series. 1:45

Game 2 will be Saturday in St. Louis, before the series moves to Dallas for the third and fourth games of the best-of-seven series.

Tarasenko’s power-play goal with 1:57 left in the second broke a 1-1 tie. It was the first power-play goal in 17 chances allowed by the Stars this post-season.

“We talk a lot about the power play and we work on it in practice and I will say that the hard work pays off and good thing it works,” Tarasenko said. “[Brayden Schenn] made a great pass and it created a good scoring chance for me.”

Tarasenko gave the Blues a 3-1 lead at the 3:51 mark of the third period, skating by defenCeman Miro Heiskanen and beating Bishop with a shot into the top left corner.

“I just missed the poke-check,” Bishop said. “I would have kind of liked to have that one back. I just missed it and obviously he put it in the net. He’s a dangerous player and he’s a good player and you can see why.”

Blues forward Ryan O’Reilly got the play started deep in the defensive zone.

“It’s amazing how he can make something out of nothing,” O’Reilly said. “That play in the corner, I just tried to throw the puck up and he makes a play and gets it and drives wide and scores an unbelievable goal. That’s just him. He’s one of the few people in the game that can turn it on and make those amazing plays.”

Benn’s power-play goal with 2:17 left cut the Stars’ deficit to one, but they couldn’t get the equalizer.

St. Louis is the place to be

Binnington made the lead stand up by making a tough save on Spezza during a Dallas power play and a sprawling save to rob Roope Hintz midway through the third.

“The defenceman and forwards have been great defensively this season and it was the same again tonight,” Binnington said. “Just good discipline, good back checking, good tracking and awareness in the D-zone. It’s good to be a goalie on this team.”

Fabbri gave the Blues a 1-0 lead at 5:57 of the first, beating Bishop between the legs from the right circle for his first goal of the playoffs. It was his first goal in 25 games, dating to Nov. 23, 2018.

Spezza tied the game midway through the second period, burying a one-timer on a pass from John Klingberg. It was his first goal in 23 games and his first in the playoffs since May 9, 2016, at St. Louis.

Stars coach Jim Montgomery said Tarasenko was the difference.

“Well, I mean he’s an elite player, he’s an elite goal scorer,” Montgomery said. “He did it to us in St. Louis earlier in the year, so I do think that’s an area where we need to get better is being a little harder on their best players.”

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