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Vladimir Tarasenko returns to Blues at pivotal time

St. Louis Blues v Philadelphia Flyers

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 06: Vladimir Tarasenko #91 of the St. Louis Blues reacts to the loss against the Philadelphia Flyers on January 6, 2018 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the St. Louis Blues 6-3. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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The St. Louis Blues are getting Vladimir Tarasenko back at a crucial time.

Tarasenko missed the past two games with an upper-body injury -- a suspected but never confirmed concussion -- and returns with the Blues sitting three points back of the second wildcard spot in the Western Conference.

The Blues host the Vancouver Canucks on Friday and hold a game in hand over the Anaheim Ducks

Tarasenko sits second on the team in scoring with 27 goals and 58 points in 71 games.

The Blues don’t have much wiggle room in terms of losses in their last nine games. Anaheim is going for their fifth straight win and the Colorado Avalanche have been on fire ever since the return of Nathan MacKinnon.

But the Blues have won three in a row themselves to put themselves back in contention.

The return of a talent as good as Tarasenko can only help their efforts.

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck