Defenseman was injured during a 4-3 victory at Washington
By LOU KORAC
ST. LOUIS -- The injury bug that has hit the Blues the past couple days has claimed yet another key contributor.
Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who was injured early in the first period -- around the 5 1/2-minute mark -- of a 4-3 victory against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, will be out week to week after having abdominal surgery, to be performed within the next 7-10 days.
Shattenkirk, who played in his first All-Star Game this season, is a big loss for a Blues team that is 10-0-1 in its past 11 games.
Shattenkirk leads all NHL defensemen with 32 assists and is second to Calgary's Mark Giordano with 40 points in 49 games. His 24 power play points (20 assists) ranks second in the NHL and the 26-year-old has had a Norris Trophy-type season.
In his absence Sunday, Alex Pietrangelo logged a career-high 32:15, and Ian Cole logged a season-high 20:42. It was Cole's second-highest career time on ice (he played 21:08 on Feb. 20, 2013 at Colorado).
"We didn't know what happened," Pietrangelo said after the game. "He's such a key player on this team. It's tough to lose a guy like that. We'll see how he feels moving forward here, but if he's not playing, might as well step up again."
In his place, Chris Butler will step into the lineup and have a big opportunity while Shattenkirk, who averages 22:54 ice time per game. That is third behind Alex Pietrangelo (25:28) and Jay Bouwmeester (23:05).
Shattenkirk was injured impeding a potential breakaway by Capitals star Alex Ovechkin. Shattenkirk went down, crashed into the boards, got up slowly and departed for the locker room. He was seen walking on his own afterwards but with a slight limp, leading to believe there was some sort of leg ailment.
The Blues are already without left wing Patrik Berglund and center Jori Lehtera. Both sustained upper-body injuries last week against the Nashville Predators and they have missed two games.