By LOU KORAC
ST. LOUIS -- Kevin Shattenkirk had an amazed look on his face after the Wednesday morning skate.
The Blues' defenseman was a bit surprised when informed that tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers (7 p.m. on NBCSN, KMOX 1120-AM) will be the 400th of his Blues career.
"That's awesome," Shattenkirk said. "That's wild."
It will be Shattenkirk's 446th NHL game overall (46 were played with the Colorado Avalanche), but his Blues career started on Feb. 19, 2011 when he was acquired along with right wing Chris Stewart and a 2011 second-round pick (which the Blues used on forward Ty Rattie) for former No. 1 overall pick, defenseman Erik Johnson, center Jay McClement and a 2011 first-round pick.
"There's quite a few. My first game here was pretty memorable, we had a big win over Anaheim, Chris Stewart and I were able to chip in too, which was great," Shattenkirk said. "More than anything we were welcomed with open arms, which was a comforting feeling. We've had big games since, last year were a lot of highlights. A couple of those Game 7s were fun to play in, fun to win. There's been quite a few, I think more importantly, out of the 400, there have been a lot of successful ones, a lot of wins in there, that's probably the best feeling."
Shattenkirk's travel day and first game with the Blues when he was acquired from the Avalanche was quite interesting.
"We were in San Jose. We found out at about midnight," Shattenkirk said. "We left the next morning at like 5 a.m., flew to Salt Lake City, got into town here at about 3 o'clock and I remember we had sushi for a pregame meal in the Central West End. I think about 4 o'clock, Carlo Colaiacovo, we hopped into his car and he took us down to the rink and got to meet everyone and played the game."
Shattenkirk, scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, has 55 goals and 184 assists in his time with the Blues, so the trade has definitely worked out for St. Louis in that regard.
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Goalie Carter Hutton, who will start tonight for only the fourth time in 21 games, was the center of attention at practice on Tuesday after the Blues returned from their Christmas break.
His all-gold goalie pads with matching glove and blocker certainly stood out at the Ice Zone.
But the color scheme wasn't his first choice. It will be THE choice come Monday when the Blues host the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2017 Bridgestone Winter Classic.
"They couldn't match the blue. We got a set made with the blue and it looked almost navy, so it wasn't even close so we went all gold," Hutton said. "It was the only color they could match.
"I used to wear a set like that in junior, my last year, we were pretty sick, we won a championship, so same thing, I was pretty good in those, maybe I'll be pretty good in those. Switch it right out. It was the only color (CCM) could match."
Hutton, who last played in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Dec. 19, will get a tough test tonight in the Flyers (20-12-4), who recently came off a 10-game winning streak.
"I just feel like I want to reward a guy that … he's competed like heck, he's played really well in his last game," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "I feel like I want to reward that. We know that Jake (Allen's) got a lot of games in him, this gives him a chance to reset the dial for three practices in a row and then get ready to play on the 30th and the 2nd."
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The Blues are 2-4-1 in their last seven games but 13-2-4 at home, and they begin a season-long six-game homestand tonight.
Home cooking is what it's going to have to get the Blues going and on a run of their own if they want to keep up with some of the teams above them (Chicago and red-hot Minnesota) in the Central Division standings.
"We saw how much it helped what we did on our last homestand, it's kept us in good position in the standings," Shattenkirk said. "If we're able to attain success, hopefully that can help us to getting some success on the road. I think we need to treat these games pretty importantly. They're pretty tough matchups, with the winter classic on Monday, we can use these games to get our game back to where it used to be. And that will help us for looking down the road and worrying about Monday."
Coming off the break, the Blues last played six days ago.
"I think we've got an advantage because we were able to practice yesterday and have a full pregame skate today," Hitchcock said. "We've had two skates, some have just pregame skates or casual practices. In Dallas' case, they had a travel day from hell. We're pretty lucky. Both teams were able to practice yesterday and then get on to the task of playing the game. We feel like we're prepared. We know how well Philadelphia is playing, we know the composure they're playing with and it will be a good challenge for us."
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The Blues activated center Paul Stastny off injured-reserve and he will be in the lineup tonight.
Defenseman Carl Gunnarsson will step back in and replace Brad Hunt after being a healthy scratch in Tampa against the Lightning.
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The Blues' projected lineup:
Alexander Steen-Jori Lehtera-Vladimir Tarasenko
Jaden Schwartz-Paul Stastny-David Perron
Robby Fabbri-Patrik Berglund-Dmitrij Jaskin
Scottie Upshall-Kyle Brodziak-Ryan Reaves
Joel Edmundson-Alex Pietrangelo
Carl Gunnarsson-Kevin Shattenkirk
Jay Bouwmeester-Colton Parayko
Carter Hutton will start in goal; Jake Allen will be the backup.
Healthy scratches include Nail Yakupov, Ty Rattie and Brad Hunt. Defenseman Robert Bortuzzo (lower body) is still on IR.
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The Flyers' projected lineup:
Taylor Leier-Claude Giroux-Jakub Voracek
Travis Konecny-Brayden Schenn-Wayne Simmonds
Nick Cousins-Sean Couturier-Dale Weise
Chris VandeVelde-Pierre-Edouard Bellemare-Roman Lyubimov
Ivan Provorov-Andrew MacDonald
Michael Del Zotto-Radko Gudas
Nick Schultz-Shayne Gostisbehere
Steve Mason will start in goal; Anthony Stolarz will be the backup.
Healthy scratches include Boyd Gordon and Brandon Manning. Michal Neuvirth (lower body), Matt Read (upper body), Mark Streit (shoulder) and Michael Raffl (knee) are out.