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St. Louis Blues V Washington Capitals

St. Louis Blues left wing David Perron (57) keeps the puck away from Washington Capitals right wing T.J. Oshie (77) in third period action during the St. Louis Blues season opener against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019 at the Enterprise Center. Photo by Laurie Skrivan, lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

When Blues star forward Vladimir Tarasenko went down with a dislocated shoulder more than two weeks ago, we wondered how the team would come together — or fall apart — as it searched for answers.

The effort has been impressive.

The Blues won the game Tarasenko exited. They have since won seven of the eight games that followed, claiming five in white-knuckle overtimes. Their seven-game winning streak has carved out a five-point lead on the Central Division.

Between the moment Tarasenko was shut down and Monday morning, three Blues have produced a points-per-game average that is among the 20-best in the NHL. This is how it must be done. Every player has to dig a little deeper, give a little more.

One is Ryan O’Reilly (four goals, eight assists, 1.33 points per game over the last nine games).

Another is Alex Pietrangelo (three goals, eight assists and 1.22 points per game over the last nine games).

And the third is David Perron, who has matched Pietrangelo in goals and assists since the Tarasenko injury.

Perron, the 31-year-old veteran playing in his 13th season, made headlines this weekend when the one-timer he flashed by Calgary’s David Rittich made Perron the first player in NHL history to score three overtime goals before his team’s 20th game.

That accomplishment seemed like a good reason to run the numbers for a fresh perspective on the forward’s latest stint with the team, a run that includes a Stanley Cup championship and the securing of a crucial role.

Perron has now played in 75 regular-season games since his third reunion with the Blues before the start of last season. He is healthy. He is confident. He has developed an on-ice chemistry with O'Reilly that is fun to watch — unless you are the team trying to stop it.

I was interested in how Perron's scoring stacked up against Tarasenko's and the rest of the league since his latest return to St. Louis. Here's what I found after looking up how his numbers compare to Tarasenko's and the 432 other NHL players who have played in 75-plus games since the start of last season. You might be surprised.

GOALS:

Tarasenko, 36 goals, tied for 38th out of 434 NHL players with 75-plus games since 2018-19

Perron, 31 goals, tied for 67th

EEVEN-STRENGTH GOALS:

Tarasenko, 23, tied for 64th

Perron, 21, tied for 83rd

POWER-PLAY GOALS:

Tarasenko, 13, tied for 16th

Perron, 10, tied for 38th

GAME-WINNING GOALS:

Perron, 6, tied for 33rd

Tarasenko, 5, tied for 58th

OVERTIME GOALS:

Perron, 3, tied for sixth

Tarasenko, 1, tied for 47th

Pause here and remember that Perron, who missed two months of last season due to a concussion, has played 11 fewer games than Tarasenko during this stretch. On this list of 434 NHL players who have played 75-plus games since the start of last season, Perron ranks last in games played and 326nd in ice time. Keep that in mind while you cruise some of these averages.

GOALS PER GAME:

Tarasenko, 0.42, tied for 29th

Perron, 0.41, 32nd

POINTS PER GAME:

Tarasenko, 0.91, 47th

Perron, 0.85, 54th

SHOOTING PERCENTAGE:

Perron, 19.4 percent, fourth

Tarasenko, 12 percent, 135th

Perron is not taking over for Tarasenko. You don't simply replace No. 91 by asking one player to be a hero. But perhaps the absence of Tarasenko has opened some eyes to how well Perron has played lately, and, really, since he rejoined the Blues.

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