Friday, February 20, 2015

(2-20-15) Bruins-Blues Gameday Lineup

ST. LOUIS -- The Blues didn't recall defenseman Petteri Lindbohm from the Chicago Wolves so he can join the rest of the media watching up above from the press box.

So when the Blues (37-16-4) host the struggling Boston Bruins (28-20-9) at 7 p.m. today (FW-MW, KMOX 1120-AM), Lindbohm will be in the lineup.

Lindbohm, who has made appearances that have totaled nine games this season with the Blues, will play alongside of Carl Gunnarsson and Chris Butler will be a healthy scratch.

After the Blues' 4-1 loss to the Dallas Stars on Tuesday, a change was bound to happen.

"Well he brings an edge to our group, he brings an edge to our game," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said of Lindbohm, a sixth round pick in 2012. "He's got size, he's a young guy, he's a little bit green, but he's got great energy, he's got a real feistiness to him, he loves the competition.

"Where the season is at right now, we want to get a really good look at him and see if he can help us now and down the stretch. We feel like anything we can add and adds an edge to that group, we need it. We need his compete level and we'll live with the mistakes that go with it."

Does that mean Lindbohm could be a fixture on the lineup until at least Kevin Shattenkirk returns from his abdominal injury?

"He's here right now and we'll certainly take him through the next week of competition and see how he looks," Hitchcock said. "Some of it will be playing, some of it will be practicing ... we'll stop the cycle and get him off and work on some things. But we wanted to see how he looks making him part of this seven-man group."

Alex Pietrangelo, who will get to be paired with the familiar Jay Bouwmeester again tonight, likes Lindbohm's game.

"He's steady. He's certainly tough to play against," Pietrangelo said. "He's feisty. He's feisty in the corners, he skates well, moves the puck, he's got a good shot. Good overall guy. I'm looking forward to seeing him get back in on the action tonight."

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When Shattenkirk went down and the Blues came to the realization that their All-Star defenseman would be sidelined for a prolonged period of time, managing minutes and managing pairs was the task at hand.

But every time Hitchcock seems to split up Bouwmeester and Pietrangelo, the coach seems to go back to that reliable duo all the time.

It happened quickly Tuesday in the loss to the Stars, and the minutes leaders will be back together as a pair tonight.

"We just kind of do what we're told," Bouwmeester said. "Obviously the Dallas game was a bit of a rough start for everybody. They scored three goals right off the bat. I think they were trying to change things up; pull the goalie, spark something. We practiced together the other day and we're back together today. I don't know ... they called up Lindy and I think he's going to play tonight and that changes things again. 

"With Shatty being out, it's obviously a guy that plays a lot of minutes. We all have to pick it up. It's just kind of experimenting right now I think."

Pietrangelo added: "We're certainly quick together. We've played together a lot over the last couple years now. Certainly it feels good for both of us. We're willing to play with anybody. Ultimately, it's the coach's decision, not ours. Lindy comes in tonight. He's obviously another guy on the back-end, different look. With Shatty out, we've got to eat up more minutes, me and 'Bouw.'"

As far as managing the pairs, "That's the coach's job," Pietrangelo said. "He rolls us out when he feels we need to be out. We're losing 20-plus minutes of whan Shatty's playing every night. We seem to have a pretty good rotation, pretty good matchups on the back-end right now. Shawzie (assistant coach Brad Shaw) has done a great job getting everybody involved."

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The Blues just want to get back to playing their game and park Tuesday's lackluster game in the rear view.

They've rebounded well after bad losses.

After a 5-0 loss at Colorado on Dec. 23, the Blues came back with a much better effort in a 4-3 loss to the Stars on Dec. 27. A 7-1 loss to Columbus on Feb. 6 was followed up by a 4-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks but it was a much better showing for the Blues. 

Tonight poses another one of those "tests."

"Obviously last game didn't go the way we wanted it to, but that happens to every team," left wing Jaden Schwartz said. "It's a matter of how you bounce back is what's important and what you learn from there."

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The Blues will get a look at someone other than Tuukka Rask for the Bruins in  goal tonight.

Malcolm Subban, younger brother of Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban, will make his NHL debut for the Bruins, as he gives Rask a breather.

Rask has played in 24 of the past 25 games for Boston, which is on a 0-3-2 losing streak and want to give their No. 1 a breather and hope to inject some life into the team by playing their No. 1 pick from 2012.

"I'm just enjoying the whole experience," Subban said. "I'm trying to get used to everything with the guys, the schedule and what not. Just be patient and keep working hard and wait for the opportunity. Obviously I'm getting mine tonight and I'm just going to make the best of it.

"As a kid, you want to be in the NHL and you want to be in the NHL as quick as possible. I just try to focus on myself and what I have to work on and getting here as quick as possible. I'm happy that I'm getting my opportunity right now and just trying to make the best of it tonight."

Subban is 10-10-3 with the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League and a 2.47 goals-against average and .920 save percentage.

"If I'm him, I'm pretty excited because I'm only in my second year of pro and with goaltenders, you'd like to be patient with them," Bruins coach Claude Julien said of Subban. "I know our organization has been with goaltenders in the past. With Tuukka, it's a good example of that. (Subban) is getting an opportunity to play here because he's progressed well. What happens from today on depends on a lot of different things here. I think he's made some real good adjustments to his game.

"He's a good goaltender. We've watched him in Providence, we've watched him here in practice. I anticipate our team to play well in front of him. This is our goaltender for tonight."

Subban said he's spoken to his brother P.K. in recent days and the message was simple: "Just enjoy the whole experience and just have fun."

"Every game's important right now," Subban added. "Not too many games left in the season. You try to get as many wins as you can. I'm happy I'm getting my chance right now, my opportunity to show what I can do and hopefully I can get a win for the team."

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The Blues' probable lineup:

Alexander Steen-David Backes-T.J. Oshie

Jaden Schwartz-Jori Lehtera-Vladimir Tarasenko

Dmitrij Jaskin-Paul Stastny-Patrik Berglund

Steve Ott-Marcel Goc-Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester-Alex Pietrangelo

Carl Gunnarsson-Petteri Lindbohm

Barret Jackman-Ian Cole

Jake Allen will get the start in goal. Brian Elliott will be the backup.

Healthy scratches include Joakim Lindstrom and Chris Butler. Kevin Shattenkirk (abdomen) is on injured reserve and Chris Porter (ankle) is still out but could play Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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The Bruins' probable lineup:

Milan Lucic-David Krejci-David Pasternak

Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Reilly Smith

Chris Kelly-Carl Soderberg-Loui Eriksson

Jordan Caron-Gregory Campbell-Brian Ferlin

Zdeno Chara-Dougie Hamilton

Matt Bartkowski-Dennis Seidenberg

Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid

Malcolm Subban will start in goal. Tuukka Rask will be the backup.

Healthy scratches include Daniel Paille, Craig Cunningham and Niklas Svedberg. Kevan Miller (shoulder) was placed on injured reserve Thursday.

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