St. Louis, MO – Vladimir Tarasenko tallied two goals in his NHL debut and Chris Stewart added a pair of power play goals as the St. Louis Blues routed the Detroit Red Wings, 6-0, in the season opener for both teams on Saturday at Scottrade Center.
T.J. Oshie registered a goal and two assists, while Patrik Berglund also lit the lamp for the Blues, who earned their first Central Division title in 12 years last season before being swept in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs by the eventual champion Los Angeles Kings.
"You look at Tarasenko and he did some special things," Stewart said. "You can tell he's going to be a special player in this league for a long time."
Jaroslav Halak turned away all 14 shots he faced to notch his 23rd career shutout.
Jimmy Howard surrendered five goals on 28 shots for the Red Wings, who lost to the Nashville Predators in five games in the first round of the playoffs last season.
"Obviously it was not the start we wanted on the season," said Detroit center Henrik Zetterberg, who was named the club's third captain since 1986 after veteran defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom announced his retirement in the offseason after 20 NHL seasons. "They were better than us in every field. It wasn't a good game."
St. Louis jumped on top early, as Ian Cole sprung Tarasenko down the right wing with a long pass from his own end line. Tarasenko went in one-on-one against Howard and beat the Detroit netminder for a 1-0 lead at the 6:36 mark of the first period.
The Blues doubled their advantage later in the first after Jan Mursak was called for hooking at the 13:52 mark. Stewart wheeled around the net and tried to feed the puck in front, but it trickled into the slot and he recovered it before flipping a wrister past a sprawling Howard for a 2-0 edge with just over five minutes left.
St. Louis cashed in on another power play less than 30 seconds into the second period. Tarasenko charged down the left wing and danced between two defenders before beating Howard high to the blocker side to make it 3-0 just 29 seconds in.
The onslaught continued later in the second when a short-handed clearing attempt from Alex Pietrangelo sprung Oshie on a breakaway. Oshie then snuck the puck under the pads of Howard to press the lead to 4-0 at the 16:09 mark.
The Blues continued to pour it on in the third, as Stewart put home another power-play goal just over a minute in when he snuck a wrister past Howard, who was then pulled after giving up his fifth tally of the night.
St. Louis' fourth and final power play goal came late in the game when Berglund deflected home a Pietrangelo pass to account for the final margin.
Tarasenko became the 14th player in Blues history to score in his debut ... Jonas Gustavsson replaced Howard and gave up one goal on eight shots ... St. Louis finished 4-for-5 on the power play, while Detroit went 0-for-5 on the man advantage ... Pietrangelo, Alex Steen and Kevin Shattenkirk each added two assists.