Fabbri to return Saturday; Reaves picking his spots; Upshall surprised by
the misconduct; plenty on the line against Capitals; Elliott owns another record
HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- With home ice advantage in the Western Conference on the line and a chance to repeat as Central Division champions, the Blues will go into their regular season finale with rookie Robby Fabbri returning.
Fabbri, who missed the past four games with a lower-body injury, skated during an optional skate Friday at the Ice Zone and was declared by coach Ken Hitchcock as ready to return Saturday against the Washington Capitals (7 p.m.' FS-MW, KMOX 1120-AM).
"Today was another good day," said Fabbri, who has 18 goals and 19 assists in 71 games. "... I'm just trying to make sure when I come back, I'm 100 percent. I'm trying to get better each and every day. It's been a good go right around this time.
"It'll be a fun game. It's a big game for us and it's a good team that we're playing and it'll be a good test."
Fabbri made quite the impact at practice Friday when he fired a puck at the side pane of glass in front of the scorer's bench at the St. Louis Outlet Mall rink and shattered it.
"I've been telling everyone all year Colton Parayko's shot isn't that hard and mine's a little harder," Fabbri joked. "Just tried to prove that today."
Fabbri grabbed a shovel used by goalie coach Jim Corsi to shovel ice shavings around the goal mouth.
"I felt a little bit bad ruining these guys' afternoon trying to fix that," Fabbri said of the Ice Zone employees. "It is freaky."
* Reaves picked right spot -- Ryan Reaves' fight Thursday with Chicago's Brandon Mashinter came at an opportune time with the Blues trailing 1-0 in a game they eventually came back and won 2-1 in overtime.
Reaves and Mashinter dropped the gloves after Reaves delivered a crunching check in the offensive zone corner on Blackhawks defenseman Erik Gustafsson. Mashinter took exception and the two dropped the glove, where Reaves landed a couple shots.
"I think they had us off our game a little bit and our offense wasn't clicking," Reaves said. "Obviously that's kind of my role to provide any spark I can. Get in on physical play, get a guy to come after me. Whether that was the spark the team needed or not, that's my role here.
"I'm always trying to provide a spark. Any time I can get out there and get a little energy in a shift, bang a few bodies, I think I did my job. When they had us off our game like they did for a little bit yesterday, I think when the fight presented itself, it was a good time."
The Blues were down a goal at the time and needed a jolt.
"'Reavo' fights at smart times," said linemate Scottie Upshall. "He's been around the game long enough to know when is the right time for him to make a statement and show us his presence. He does it every time he's on the ice through his physical play and his emotion. He talks on the bench. He's been a good leader from that standpoint from us. Last night, he stepped up big."
Hitchcock said it wasn't so much Reaves picking a spot to provide a spark but more making an impact on the game.
"I don't think yesterday he was picking his spot," Hitchcock said. "I think he was just playing hard. The way he played yesterday was exactly what we need from him in the playoffs. He was physical, he was on the puck, he was pushing people off the puck, he was a very determined player yesterday and that's the type of player we need moving forward. If that's the type of player we're going to get from that position, that's going to be an impactful position for us because he had an impact in the game yesterday."
* Upshall sits -- After the Reaves fight, Upshall was given a mysterious 10-minute misconduct penalty that was originally announced as that of Reaves, who wondered why it was given to him.
But Upshall apparently had a small exchange with a Blackhawks player that was not seen on video and was given the extended gate.
"It was quick to react," Upshall said. "I thought (the official) was just kidding actually when he called me to the box and gave me a timeout.
"It wasn't much. In a heated game like that with so much on the line, you hope the refs let the game happen and not to jump to make decisions like that. Fortunately enough, it was something that didn't hurt our team t hat bad and we were able to still keep thing together and win the game late."
* Plenty on the line -- The Blues and Stars each have 49-23-9 records, good for 107 points, but Dallas holds the tiebreaker for regulation or overtime wins (47-44), so a Stars win against the Nashville Predators Saturday night makes the Blues' game with the Capitals irrelevant.
However, a Stars regulation loss means the Blues need just one point to secure the division, or of the Stars gain just a point means the Blues can win the division and conference title regular season title with a victory.
"The next team in the league is obviously the No. 1 team in the league so that gets your attention right away and then the importance of the game magnifies it," Hitchcock said. "I think we moved on real quickly. We didn't spend much time talking about it today. I think both teams recognized they could have played better in the game. I think from our standpoint is now get ready for Washington. You're playing Washington and you've got one eye on the game in Dallas. Now we're going to know after the game who we play so focus moves quickly."
Through all the things the Blues have been through with injuries, to have the chance to win a division on the final day speaks volumes. However, Vladimir Tarasenko, who scored the game-tying and game-winning goals in the 2-1 overtime win at Chicago Thursday, said it best.
"I think we have to think more about winning the Stanley Cup," Tarasenko said. "We just need to win every game and just go and do what you can do."
"You guys know just as much as us we had high expectations," Upshall said. "We're a team with no excuses. Although you get bumps and bruises along the way, the game of hockey has been hard on this group of guys this year. We battled through it, a very resilient group. It says a lot of the leadership and the guys we've had step up and play big minutes."
* Elliott sets record -- Upon further review, Brian Elliott, who will start against the Capitals, owns another record on his own.
Elliott established a franchise record with his 11th consecutive victory (but not in consecutive starts), a record once held by Brent Johnson, who won 10 straight starts during the 2001-02 season; Elliott set the record in 13 starts after Jake Allen absorbed two of the decisions (both losses) by virtue of allowing the goal that ultimately decided the outcome of the game.
Elliott was injured in a 6-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks on March 22 but departed when it was 3-0 and was pulled after two periods on April 1 of a 6-5 loss to the Boston Bruins trailing 5-2.
"Jake kind of took one of my losses (actually, two) with how it goes numbers-wise," Elliott said. "You have some ups and downs in there, too. You just try to feel good and play and take your mind out of it and let your body do the work and trusting your instincts and your preparation and go out there and play. That's the mindset."
* Edmundson signs extension -- The Blues announced on Friday they signed defenseman Joel Edmundson to a two-year contract extension worth $2.1 million, or $1.05 million annual average value.
Edmundson is in his rookie season with the Blues and has one goal and eight assists in 66 games.
Edmundson 6-foot-4, 207-pound Edmundson was selected in the second round (46th overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft.