St. Louis Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko is making his first career appearance in the Stanley Cup Final. The Russian has three goals in the first four games of the series. That got me wondering: How good has Tarasenko’s Stanley Cup Final performance been among all Russian-born players of all-time?
What I learned is that he’s having a downright Ovechkinian series.
With Peter’s help (thanks, Peter!), I searched Hockey Reference to see who has scored the most individual goals in Stanley Cup Final history, year-over-year.
And then, I went through the results and manually highlighted the best performances in Russian history. For this exercise, I’m including players that were born in the USSR that is now modern-day Russia.
Most goals by a Russian born player all-time in the Stanley Cup Final
* Happening in the current year.
In terms of goals, Tarasenko is having the second-best Stanley Cup Final series for a Russian born player ever, matching the recent performances of Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin in 2018 and 2017 respectively.
Ovechkin scored three goals (Game 2, Game 3, and Game 5) in five games against the Vegas Golden Knights last season en route to his first career Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy – as playoffs MVP.
The three-goal Stanley Cup Final feat has also been accomplished by Russian legends Igor Larionov and Sergei Fedorov.
Alex Kovalev, who was born in Togliatti, Russia, scored the most goals with 4 in 1994 as a member of the New York Rangers. This breakaway goal would land the cover of the videogame NHL95.
Tarasenko’s 11 goals for the entirety of this year’s postseason rank him fifth in NHL history among all Russian born players, trailing both Ovechkin and Kuznetsov’s goal totals from last season.
The only 4 Russian-born players to record more in a single playoff year? Pavel Bure (16 in 1994), Alex Ovechkin (15 in 2018), Evgeni Malkin (14 in 2009), Evgeny Kuznetsov (12 in 2018) https://t.co/Yh0UsrHKrK
— StatsCentre (@StatsCentre) June 4, 2019
Ovechkin has the most playoff goals of all-time by a Russian born player with 65.
Headline photo: NBC
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