The St. Louis Blues lost their number-one center early Tuesday night when David Backes left in the first period after a collision with Trevor Daley.
Vladimir Tarasenko was fairly nonplussed about it.
He would take down the Dallas Stars single-handedly with three goals and an assist, generating 100% of the Blues' offensive himself in a 4-3 overtime win at American Airlines Center.
Dallas responded well after a 7-5 loss in New York and lots of talk about their defensive lapses, playing a more structured game that limited quality chances against- But they couldn't overcome the skill of one, and have now dropped five of their first nine games this year.
The Stars power play registered a goal in its sixth straight game, but it wasn't enough as they continue last season's trend of struggling mightily with Central Division competition.
Jamie Oleksiak would open the scoring when he took what will generously be recorded in the annals of NHL history as a shot from the right point that hit a Blue in front before rain-bowing over Brian Elliott for the game's first lead.
35 seconds later the Blues would tie it when Vladamir Tarasenko, looking anything but ill, as was reported all week, took a pass in the slot and rifled a puck just, just under the bar past Kari Lehtonen.
In the second period the Stars would re-gain their lead after a series of passes that it would be pointless to attempt to describe (if you didn't see it, check out the highlights. You really should) eventually led to a Tyler Seguin one-timer in the slot and a 2-1 lead.
37 seconds later the Blues would tie it when Vladamir Tarasenko, looking anything but ill, as was reported all week, sent a pass right into the slot to a streaking Jori Lehtera (huh?) who beat Kari on the backhand.
Stars. Tarasenko. Stars. Tarasenko.
The big story in the second period was the penalty kill, which found itself in a spot of trouble when Jamie Oleksiak had trouble clearing the zone and Kevin Connauton would commit interference soon thereafter. Brenden Dillon and his stick would then contact the enemy a little too far off the ice, and the Stars had to kill nearly a minute of 5-on-3, then the remainder.
Even for all of that, the Stars' second period was far better than the first, out-shooting the Blues 10-5 to take a 17-16 edge after two when they had trailed significantly in the opening frame.
Early in the third the Stars would get back on top when another passing bonanza ensued on the power play, ending on the stick of one Mr. Trevor Daley, who seemingly willed a shot through Elliott for his 4th of the season.
30 seconds later... Well, OK, nothing happened 30 seconds later. It was more like eight minutes, when Vladimir Tarasenko once again got loose and beat Lehtonen to tie the game.
They'd survive for the remainder of the period as the Seguin line continued to generate at will, but they couldn't connect, and Tarasenko again nearly struck as the clock ticked to zero in regulation.
Like the thriller at home against the Flyers of last week, this overtime started with a Stars penalty to Tyler Seguin for high-sticking that would prove too much to overcome as some guy scored on a one-time from the high slot to give the Blues a 4-3 win.
I believe his name was Tarasenko.
And so it went. The Stars improved many of their issues from previous worrisome outings but in the end were out-dueled by one individual that they just did not have an answer for. Is he the newest "Star-killer?"
Still, Jamie Oleksiak's first NHL goal, another strong performance from Kari Lehtonen and the continued dominance of the Seguin trio earned the Stars at least a point as they continue to learn early season lessons while moving along at a modest pace, even if it's not the one they know matches their potential.
Two off-days await Dallas now before taking on Anaheim on Halloween night. Those Ducks will be in St. Louis to take on these Blues the night before.