Injuries for West contenders: Blues’ Tarasenko, Predators’ Duchene
The good news for the Blues (beating the Kings) and the Predators (taming the Wild) on Thursday is that they won their games. The bad news is that those wins could end up being costly.
In the Blues’ case, Vladimir Tarasenko suffered an upper-body injury during the first period of that 5-2 win against Los Angeles and did not return. It’s possible that Tarasenko was injured during a seemingly innocuous moment, and there is some concern that his upper-body injury might be shoulder-related. Tarasenko suffered a separated shoulder during the Blues’ Stanley Cup run, and had undergone shoulder surgery during the 2018 offseason.
Matt Duchene’s last shift came late in the second period of the Predators’ eventual 4-0 win against Minnesota. While there was some hypothesizing about when Tarasenko might have gotten hurt, it wasn’t clear when Duchene might have suffered whatever his lower-body injury might be.
Both are off to strong starts
Tarasenko didn’t score a point during just 4:37 of ice time on Thursday, yet he sits at a point per game with 10 in 10. The 27-year-old winger saw a five-game point streak (three goals, five assists for eight points) end here.
The Blues have been wobbly at times to start 2019-20, but this improves their record to 5-2-3. Things could be bumpy if Tarasenko even just misses a bit of time, as St. Louis plays its next two games and six of their next eight on the road.
Duchene was limited to 9:37 ice time and failed to score a point as well on Thursday, but is also off to a generally robust start, as this leaves him with 11 points in his first 10 games as a member of the Predators.
The 6-3-1 Predators are already dealing with an injury to star winger Filip Forsberg, so while the volume of injuries isn’t high for Nashville right now, the quality of players could be significant.
The hope for both teams is that these are merely minor ailments, but both teams have to be holding their breath.