Tarasenko to return Tuesday, Shattenkirk
doubtful; Allen honored; Havlat, Zubrus get extensive look
HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- The Blues will get right wing Vladimir Tarasenko back for their game against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday.
Coach Ken Hitchcock confirmed after practice Monday that the Blues' leading scorer will return after missing Saturday against the Minnesota Wild with a lower-body injury.
Tarasenko, who was injured last week in the second period in a 2-1 victory against the Anaheim Ducks on a hit by Shawn Horcoff, practiced Monday with usual linemates Alexander Steen and Jori Lehtera without any reservations or restrictions.
"It's like any other player," Hitchcock said. "You want to be able to get through the practice and not have any discomfort and stuff like that, so he's fine; he's good to go."
The news wasn't as clear with defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who's missed eight games with a lower-body injury.
Shattenkirk took part in a full practice again Monday but doesn't appear on the cusp of marking his return just yet.
"I don't know; we'll see," Hitchcock said when asked. "No real time frame on that right now."
It probably doesn't make sense to bring Shattenkirk back for back-to-back games Tuesday and Wednesday (the Blues play in Chicago on Wednesday).
Shattenkirk has had his recent string of practices, and on Monday, he skated with rookie Joel Edmundson for a pre-practice drill but then took his recent place with Chris Butler during actual practice drills.
* Havlat, Zubrus get hard look -- Monday's third line had an interesting twist to it.
Dmitrij Jaskin centered a line with Ty Rattie and Robby Fabbri. Combined, they are 63 years in age, which averages out to be 21 years per player, although Fabbri is only 19.
But Hitchcock said there was an ulterior motive there.
"I wasn't looking at them; I wanted to see how (Martin) Havlat, (Dainius) Zubrus looked with an NHL center iceman (Scott Gomez), so I wanted to take a hard look at that line," Hitchcock said.
Havlat and Zubrus, who were brought in for 10-day professional tryouts, were pushed through the gamut on Monday, since the Blues will make their decisions on both players by Friday.
"They both looked good today," Hitchcock said. "I thought this was the best evaluation day. Their compete level and their conditioning and everything looks like it's in good hands. The decision for both them and us is, 'What are we going to do next?' They looked more competitive today. It was a good line and it was an effective line that we had in the scrimmages that we had today in a little bit of the team play. They look like they could handle themselves."
* Allen honored -- Goalie Jake Allen, who will make a fourth consecutive start Tuesday against the Kings before Brian Elliott starts Wednesday against the Blackhawks, was named the NHL's Second Star of the Week, which was announced Monday.
Allen went 3-0-0 with one shutout, had a 0.98 goals-against average and .963 save percentage.
Allen is 4-2-0 with a 1.98 GAA and .929 save percentage on the season.
"You get into a little bit more of a rhythm," Allen said of his recent play. "You play a few more games, you feel the game a little bit more.
"It's still early, but I feel back to my old self again, just relaxed, patient, playing with a little bit of confidence and just doing my part. I'm getting the guys a chance and guys are taking care of the rest."
And Hitchcock, who is still undecided on which goalie will start playing the majority of the games, will lean on Allen again.
"Jake's going to play tomorrow and 'Ells' is going to play in Chicago and it's like you could go the other way and not miss a beat," Hitchcock said. "It's a good feeling when you're comfortable putting your guys in at any place, at any time. I think so far, they've kind of been the story of our team. They've helped us win a lot of these close games."
Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said Allen was at his best, particularly in a 3-2 overtime victory against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday.
"He played outstanding," Pietrangelo said. "That save in overtime there on Saturday (against Minnesota's Mikael Granlund) was the pinnacle of his week. Playing really well right now. We're going to need both of them to step up here."
* Parayko recognized -- Blues rookie defenseman Colton Parayko was among the nominees to be considered for the NHL Rookie of the Month for October.
Parayko finished with four goals and three assists in 11 games, which is the most goals of any rookie d-man by two.
Edmonton's Connor McDavid took home the rookie of the month honors after the first overall pick this past summer had 12 points in 12 games.
Also under consideration were Chicago's Artemi Panarin, Arizona's Max Domi and Winnipeg's Nikolaj Ehlers.