By LOUIE KORAC
ST. LOUIS -- When Blues coach Ken Hitchcock spoke in regards to two injuries that occurred during Saturday's 6-1 win against the Nashville Predators, the veteran coach was concerned about them being long-term.
Two days later, the injury news wasn't as bad as initially thought, and one of them (Chris Stewart) will be in the lineup when the Blues (6-1-2) host the Winnipeg Jets (5-6-2) Tuesday night at Scottrade Center.
Stewart did not play the third period Saturday night after taking a nasty shove into the corner boards from Nashville's Patric Hornqvist but was at practice Monday after a day off Sunday. The news was also good in regards to Magnus Paajarvi, who also suffered an upper-body injury in the first period. He missed the final two periods Saturday and is listed as day-to-day.
"I was in a bit of pain, that's for sure," Stewart said. "I came back and tried it for a shift and it didn't feel good. It was a smart decision to shut her down and get some rest. These last couple days, I took the steps in the right direction."
Stewart returned for a shift and took liberties with Hornqvist, accumulating 14 minutes in penalties.
"Me personally the way I grew up, I'm not going to let anyone take liberties on me," Stewart said. "I fight my own battles. I thought I did a good job letting him know and what's done is done."
Stewart, who is yet to score this season, played his two best games of the season, according to Hitchcock, against Vancouver and Nashville. He did so by playing with Patrik Berglund Saturday. He'll play with Derek Roy and Vladimir Sobotka today when the Blues (6-1-2) host the Winnipeg Jets (5-6-2) at 7 p.m. (FSN, KMOX 1120-AM).
"He's at the puck now," Hitchcock said of Stewart, who has two assists in nine games. "He's not looking for space, he's fighting for space, so he's at the puck.
"I think the change in the line kind of gave him a little bit of a wake-up call. We like him with Sobe, we've always liked him with Roy, but he needed to be at the puck rather than looking for the space. He was getting a ton of odd-man rushes. In the Winnipeg game, he had three 2-on-1's alone, but that's not his game. He was getting discouraged because he was missing so many opportunities off the rush but he wasn't getting the quality o-zone chances he did last year. By putting him with Bergy, it forced him back into his game. He was very, very effective. We can go back and add that element with Sobotka now and I think really help us solidify a second line."
Adam Cracknell, who's played in one game this season, will take Paajarvi's spot in the lineup Tuesday night.
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Not only is Alexander Steen facing his hometown team, one in which his father Thomas played with for 14 seasons, but it's also a chance for Ryan Reaves to face his native team.
Both Steen and Reaves were born in Winnipeg.
"It's not anything too big for me," said Reaves, whose father Willard was a running back in the Canadian Football League for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers as well as played in the National Football League for Miami, Green Bay and Washington. "... My family watches every game. All my buddies back home obviously support the Jets when I'm not there. I'm sure they'll be watching. I guess it is special."
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The Jets, who finish up a four-game trip here, recalled defenseman Ben Chiarot from St. John's of the American Hockey League to take the place of Paul Postma, who was placed on injured reserve with a blood clot.
"Ben Chiarot was playing well in St. John's," Jets coach Claude Noel said. "What we did was we rewarded him for fine play. That's usually what we do. We talked to the coaching staff down there and determined he was going good, so that's why he got the call."
The Blues and Jets have met once this season, on Oct. 18 in Winnipeg in which the home side rallied from a 3-1 third-period deficit and take a 4-3 shootout victory.
"The game lasts 2 1/2 hours, not two hours. We stopped playing," Hitchcock said. "We stopped playing and it wasn't because we were playing back-to-back. It wasn't a lack of energy. We got a little bit sloppy with the puck and paid for it. It's a good lesson for us. Winnipeg's a team that's got a lot of transition in their game. They transitioned it and got those two tying goals."
Which is why the Jets, who are 1-1-1 on the current trip, expect the Blues to come out with a purpose.
"For us, we know it's going to be a heavy game," Noel said. "The last time we played these guys, they were on a back-to-back. The third period, we caught them a little bit fortunate and we ended up scoring a couple goals and took it to a shootout. They're fresher tonight and will be ready to go.
"It'll be a heavy game, it'll be a tough game to win, but that's the beauty of playing these games and winning them. We'll be tested. They don't give you very much. You have to earn every inch of ice against them. It'll be a good test for us."
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The Blues' probable lineup:
Alexander Steen-David Backes-T.J. Oshie
Vladimir Sobotka-Derek Roy-Chris Stewart
Jaden Schwartz-Patrik Berglund-Vladimir Tarasenko
Brenden Morrow-Adam Cracknell-Ryan Reaves
Jay Bouwmeester-Alex Pietrangelo
Barret Jackman-Kevin Shattenkirk
Jordan Leopold-Roman Polak
Jaroslav Halak gets the start in goal; Brian Elliott is the backup.
Ian Cole is the lone healthy scratch. Maxim Lapierre will serve the final game of his suspension tonight. Magnus Paajarvi (upper-body) is day-to-day.
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The Jets' probable lineup:
Andrew Ladd-Bryan Little-Devin Setoguchi
Evander Kane-Mark Scheifele-Blake Wheeler
Chris Thorburn-Olli Jokinen-Michael Frolik
Eric Tangradi-James Wright-Matt Halischuk
Grant Clitsome-Dustin Byfuglien
Tobias Enstrom-Zach Bogosian
Mark Stuart-Adam Pardy
Ondrej Pavelec gets the start in goal; Al Montoya is the backup.
Jets healthy scratches include Patrice Cormier, former Blue Anthony Peluso and Ben Chiarot. The Jets are without injured players Jim Slater (lower-body), Jacob Trouba (neck) and Paul Postma (blood clot)