Saturday, December 16, 2017

Hutton stands tall with 48-save shutout in 2-0 win over Jets

Goaltender stellar for Blues in first of back-to-back games 
against Winnipeg, sets franchise record for most saves in a shutout

By LOU KORAC
ST. LOUIS -- As he was making save after -- at times -- acrobatic save, Blues goalie Carter Hutton just wanted to give his team a chance.

A team that had hit a small skid with two straight losses and had one goal to show for it, the Blues' margin for error was small against the high-flying Winnipeg Jets in the first of a home-and-home series between the teams.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Blues goalie Carter Hutton makes one of his career-best 48 saves against
the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday.

Hutton stood tall, he stood large, and in the end, he stood victorious. He made a career-high 48 saves for his first shutout of the season and ninth in the NHL in a 2-0 Blues victory over the Jets on Saturday before 17,964 at Scottrade Center.

Hutton, who was activated off injured reserve on Friday following a foot injury and making his first start since Dec. 1, was -- in a word -- sensational.

With the Blues (22-10-2) absorbing every blow the Jets (18-10-5) were throwing at them, particularly in the second period when Winnipeg was outshooting the Blues 21-6.

The 48 saves were most for a Blues goalie in a shutout in franchise history, eclipsing the 47 saves made by Chris Mason on Nov. 25, 2008. 

All in a night's work, right?

"That's my game, a couple weeks off and play," Hutton said. "I thought we battled hard. Penalty kill was great, power play gets two huge goals. I thought there was a lot of chances. That second period, I was running out of juice there early on, then kind of settled in and then in the third, I thought we played really well. We played great, we did a great job. And that's the difference. We get a late goal and kind of seals the deal."

Hutton said he had nerves, but for those watching live or even on television, you wouldn't know it. 

"It's weird. It comes in different waves," Hutton said. "Tonight, I was kind of coming into the game with a little more nerves, a little more excitement, kind of mixed emotions. I thought I settled in right away. First couple shots, I thought I was seeing it really well, tracking the puck off me, any rebounds. They put a lot of pucks to the net. [Blake] Wheeler does a good job of just shooting for rebounds in tough areas. So for me, it almost gets me in the game. 

"I like to compete and battle. I thought it kind of really played to my strength early on, and then I thought as the game went on, it was almost my puck-handling took over. I thought I handled the pucks. And then we did a good job in the third as we really didn't give up a whole lot."

The Blues were outshot 48-30 in the game, but coming from a vantage point of a team that was shut out, the Jets, who will welcome the Blues at their place on Sunday at 5 p.m. at Bell MTS Place, played a solid road game. They were simply beat by the guy between the pipes.

"He was 48 saves good. He was really good," Blues coach Mike Yeo said of Hutton. "I thought our third period, we tightened up a little bit but obviously, as tight as we want to be. That team's going to find a way to get chances. They've got a lot of skill, a lot of firepower. But we gave up a little bit off the rush tonight but every time we gave up something, 'Hutts' was there."

"Yeah, it's amazing how [Hutton] did tonight, I think everyone knows that," said Blues defenseman Vince Dunn, who scored his third NHL goal. "When a guy stands on his head for the team like that, you've got to pay your dues. We didn't manage to score 5-on-5, but I think we stuck to the game plan and I think obviously you saw that the power play was doing better than it has before."

Hutton made 36 saves in the first two periods, 21 in the second when the Blues were caught on their heels and battling penalty troubles along with the Jets' multiple waves of zone time.

"We didn't control the game like we normally do," Yeo said. "It's a good hockey team over there. I thought in the defensive effort, we were very solid. We'd like to see a little more zone time, we'd like to see a little more puck possession time, because when a team like that has the puck, as well as you want to defend, they're going to get some shots, they're going to get some opportunities. I don't think we controlled the rush as well as we can, whether it's our gaps, our forwards that help as far as pushing them into our defense, but all in all still a pretty solid effort."

"I always told you guys he's a really good goalie, same as Jake [Allen], and we are really thankful for those goalies," said Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko, who scored the Blues' first goal. "We're really proud how they play right now."

Tarasenko and Dunn scored power-play goals for St. Louis, which went 2-2-0 on a four-game homestand.

"'Hutts' was rock solid for us," Blues center Brayden Schenn said. "Coming off a week away from the team and coming back and having a performance like that was awesome. That's what we need from our goalies. We're not scoring a ton of goals right now, but goalies have been good for us and that was obviously the story again tonight."

Steve Mason made 28 saves for the Jets (18-10-5). It was his first game since Nov. 25, when he was hit in the head with a puck. It was the second time Winnipeg was shut out this season.

The Jets are 0-4-2 their past six road games and have been outscored 24-10.

The Blues snapped an 0-for-12 slide on the power-play with the two goals and they needed them.

Tarasenko's 15th goal gave St. Louis a 1-0 lead at 9:16 of the first period. He followed Alexander Steen's slap shot from the right circle and got to the rebound.

"I don't remember. You guys see everything," Tarasenko said. "Just work on it every time and I hope success, like I always said, will come. We need to score more power-play goals obviously and sometimes it wins games like today."

Dunn's power-play goal at 17:34, a wrist shot from inside the blue line, gave St. Louis a 2-0 lead.

Steen set the screen and Dunn stepped into a wrister.

"I didn't really see it at the time, but obviously looking at the replay, there's no doubt that was a big part on 'Steener' there and the goalie had no chance really seeing it when he was looking over the other shoulder," Dunn said. "So yeah, a lot of credit to him on that goal."

"... I was more worried about the guy coming out on me. But you know, I think we've been turning up a lot of shots on the power play, so I think tonight we tried to get more pucks at the net and I think that's where we saw our results."
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Blues goalie Carter Hutton (left) stops Winnipeg's Bryan Little, making one
of 48 saves in a 2-0 victory against the Jets.

The Blues momentarily jumped over Nashville and back into first in the conference. Nashville played Saturday night in Calgary.

Now the teams get to do it all over again Sunday.

"It'll be fun," Schenn said. "It's a good hockey game. It's a fun team to play. There's chances out there, there's good goaltending. It's physical, there's hits. It's Central Division and there's a lot of good teams in our division. Back-to-back just makes it that much better."

* NOTES -- Blues right wing Sammy Blais sustained a lower-body injury in the first period. He returned for one shift in the second but immediately went off the ice.

"Lower body, tweaked something, don't think it's going to be serious," Yeo said. "Heard he may be a possibililty in the next day or so. Haven't gotten full word."

As for Alex Pietrangelo and Kyle Brodziak, who both missed Saturday's game?

"Both guys I'd say are possibilities tomorrow," Yeo said.

Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester (undisclosed injury) will not initially join the team in Winnipeg but could meet up with the team in Western Canada.

(12-16-17) Jets-Blues Gameday Lineup

By LOU KORAC
ST. LOUIS -- Carl Gunnarsson is OK and expected to play, Kyle Brodziak will miss his first game of the season and Carter Hutton will start and make his first appearance since Dec. 1 when the Blues (21-10-2) play host to the Winnipeg Jets (18-9-5) in the first of a back-to-back, home-and-home set on Saturday at Scottrade Center (6 p.m.; FS-MW, KMOX 1120-AM).

The two teams will play the return matchup Sunday in Winnipeg (5 p.m. on FS-MW, KMOX 1120-AM).

Gunnarsson took a wrist shot off the stick from Jordan Schmaltz during a special teams drill in practice on Friday and left the ice; he skated briefly during an optional on Saturday but deemed himself fit to go.

"That happens, just took a shot off the shin and it just felt like I had to get off and check it out, but it's good," Gunnarsson said. "We've got a couple guys out right now, but I think everyone's going through that kind of thing right now."

Gunnarsson took the shot off the shin under the watchful eye of his father Bjorn, who was at practice Friday and is in town visiting his son, daughter-in-law and newborn grandchild Elise.

"I guess he had nothing better to do," Gunnarsson joked.  

Brodziak, who was to play in his 800th NHL game, will have to wait at least another day or even longer. 

Brodziak did not practice on Friday, took the ice momentarily on Saturday but did not stay on the ice long and was declared out. He will be replaced in the lineup by Oskar Sundqvist.

"He's a little dinged up," Blues coach Mike Yeo said of Brodziak. "That's why he didn't practice yesterday. We were hoping he'd come in and feel better today, but that wasn't the case. Hopefully, he feels better tomorrow, but I'm not too optimistic.

"'Sunny's done a good job for us. He'll be able to come in and fill that spot." 

Hutton, activated off injured reserve on Friday after sustaining a foot injury during a morning skate on Dec. 7, gets the nod tonight and Jake Allen, who had started the past seven games, will start for the Blues on Sunday.

""You never want to miss time, but we're ready to go and excited to get back in there and help the team out," Hutton said. "We're excited. It's a good hockey team over there, but we're a good hockey team over here. It's going to be a fun hockey game."

The Blues will get Jets backup Steve Mason in net tonight, which means they'll likely see Connor Hellebuyck on Sunday. 

Mason will make his first appearance since sustaining a concussion on Nov. 25 against the San Jose Sharks.

- - -

Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo skated for a fourth straight day on Saturday with no limitations. 

Pietrangelo, who sustained a lower-body injury Dec. 9 at Detroit, can be activated off IR on Sunday in time for the rematch with the Jets.

Yeo wouldn't commit to Pietrangelo playing but is encouraged by signs he's getting better each day.

"He's coming along," Yeo said. "He feels good. It's been a big improvement. 

- - -

Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, put on IR on Friday retroactive to Sunday, is also dealing with an undisclosed injury and it's uncertain whether he will make the upcoming four-game trip that takes the Blues to Western Canada after Winnipeg.

"That's the plan, is to bring 'Bouw' right now, but again, why don't you just ask me tonight after the game," Yeo said.

Brodziak will travel.

- - -

It's a rarity in the sport much these days, but both the Blues and Jets seem to be fans of the home-and-home, back-to-back games.

"It's always fun, especially teams in your own division, it brings out the intensity in the competitors," Yeo said. "Obviously there's a little familiarly, within coaches there's an adjustment, I think it's fun in the sense it gives you more of that playoff feel.

"I don't think it hurts. I don't spend a lot of time thinking about it. We'll prepare for them and move on. ... These are big games."

"I love them," Jets coach Paul Maurice said. "I wish they were all like that. It's fair for travel, unless you get stuck at the airport for a few hours. I like them a lot. It's fun for the coaching part of it, too, areas you need to get better, anticipate adjustments they're going to make in the game. I'm a big fan."
   
- - -

The Blues' projected lineup:

Vladimir Sobotka-Paul Stastny-Vladimir Tarasenko

Alexander Steen-Brayden Schenn-Dmitrij Jaskin

Scottie Upshall-Patrik Berglund-Ivan Barbashev 

Magnus Paajarvi-Oskar Sundqvist-Chris Thorburn

Joel Edmundson-Colton Parayko 

Carl Gunnarsson-Robert Bortuzzo 

Vince Dunn-Jordan Schmaltz

Carter Hutton will start in goal; Jake Allen will be the backup. 

The healthy scratch is expected to be Sammy Blais. Alex Pietrangelo (lower body), Jay Bouwmeester (undisclosed), Jaden Schwartz (ankle), Kyle Brodziak (undisclosed) and Zach Sanford (shoulder) are out. Robby Fabbri (knee) is out for the season.

- - -

The Jets' projected lineup:

Kyle Connor-Mark Scheifele-Blake Wheeler

Nikolaj Ehlers-Bryan Little-Patrik Laine

Andrew Copp-Adam Lowry-Brandon Tanev

Mathieu Perreault-Matt Hendricks-Joel Armia

Josh Morrissey-Jacob Trouba

Dmitry Kulikov-Tyler Myers

Ben Chiarot-Tucker Poolman

Steve Mason will start in goal; Connor Hellebuyck will be the backup. 

Healthy scratches include Marko Dano, Shawn Matthias and Julian Melchiori. Dustin Byfuglien (lower body) and Toby Enstrom (lower body) are out. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

(12-16-17) BLUES NOTEBOOK

Gunnarsson injured in practice, joins growing list; Pietrangelo progressing; 
Hutton activated, will play this weekend; Bouwmeester to IR, Blais recalled

By LOU KORAC
ST. LOUIS -- It's been quite the week for injuries as far as the Blues are concerned.

Add defenseman Carl Gunnarsson to a list that grows, it seems, by the minute.

Gunnarsson left a short practice early on Friday after being hit around his right knee area, a wrist shot taken by fellow defenseman Jordan Schmaltz, during a special teams drill.

With Jaden Schwartz (right ankle), Alex Pietrangelo (lower body) and Jay Bouwmeester (undisclosed) all currently out with injuries, joining Zach Sanford (shoulder) and Robby Fabbri (knee), the Blues may have to enlist the M*A*S*H unit on ice.

"We'll see in the morning, we're hopeful," Blues coach Mike Yeo said of Gunnarsson's availability. "My gut says that he'll be ready to go, but obviously we don't know how he's going to feel tomorrow."

Dmitrij Jaskin, Kyle Brodziak and Robert Bortuzzo all missed practice because Yeo said all are "A little dinged up, so we'll go in the morning and hopeful that they'll be players for us."

Speaking of Pietrangelo though, the news is trending upwards that he could very well rejoin the lineup when he can come off injured reserve on Sunday in the second of back-to-back games against the Winnipeg Jets.

The Blues (21-10-2) host the Jets (18-9-5) at 6 p.m. Saturday (FS-MW, KMOX 1120-AM) before the rematch at MTS Centre on Sunday at 5 p.m.

"'Petro' obviously skated again today; he's getting closer," Yeo said. "That's a good sign and we're happy with the group that we've got going. I think our 'D' have been doing a good job. You look at last game and obviously there's a couple times where I think we could have done something differently, something better, but that goes for our entire group."

As for Bouwmeester, who the Blues thought would play on Thursday against the Anaheim Ducks but was a late scratch, the Blues put the veteran defenseman on injured reserve retroactive to Sunday.

Yeo said on Thursday after a 3-1 loss to the Ducks that Bouwmeester would be held out of the games against the Jets and be re-evaluated next week.

"We thought he was going to be a player, but it didn't work out," Yeo said.

Recalling Blais from San Antonio for the fourth time this season is more indicative of perhaps an underlying injury to one of the Blues' forwards. Jaskin took a pop during the game Thursday.

* Hutton activated, Binnington reassigned -- The Blues activated goalie Carter Hutton off injured reserve on Friday, some good news on the injury front.

Hutton was put on injured reserve last Friday after he injured his left foot after taking a shot by Scottie Upshall during the morning skate on Dec. 7.

"Yeah, I feel real good actually," Hutton said. "A few days off obviously, I couldn't do much at the start with the foot and I was able to get some good workouts in. We found a lot of ways to get some extra fitness in that you can't really do sometimes when you're playing all the time and then just some good sessions with the goalie coach and some practices and I feel like I never missed a beat here."

Yeo said Hutton would get one of the two games against the Jets.

"He's going to play one of the two games," Yeo said. "We'll announce that tomorrow."

With Hutton's return, the Blues returned Binnington on loan to Providence of the AHL, and Hutton is ready to play a game for the first time since Dec. 1.

"You hope I'll get in one of these two and help out, but whatever happens, goes," said Hutton, who is 4-2-0 with a 1.88 goals-against average and .937 save percentage this season. "Jake's been playing great. 

"We've dropped a couple here at home, but it wasn't because of a lack of effort by any means. We look at any points in those games, I think it could have went either way. We've got to get back on the winning track. That's what this league's about is winning games, and we've go the team in here to do it."

* Fixing the offense -- Injuries aside, the Blues aren't making excises for their latest two-game slide in which they've scored just one goal in losses to Tampa Bay (3-0) and Anaheim (3-1).

But there's definitely an out-of-sync group that played Thursday. Against the Lightning, despite getting shut out, the Blues produced quality scoring chances and were thwarted by goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy. 

Thursday, the Blues displayed few grade 'A' chances and out of whack tendencies, and it goes from odd-man rushes to an ineffective power play to 5-on-5 play.

"When you're not scoring goals, obviously all of it is a factor," Yeo said. "You look at our rush play right now, I don't think we're fast enough, I don't think we're direct enough. I look at our offensive zone play, looking at the video again, we've got guys at the net, but we're not finding ways to create those shot opportunities, those second chance opportunities. Too many shots getting blocked and a little bit too much one-and-done in the offensive zone, too. I feel like when we're on top of our game, we've got more movement, we've got more zone time and are more dangerous because of that."

There's one common denominator to it all, getting to the interior, which is something the Blues and coaches continue to preach but get inconsistent levels of. Whether it's the opposition pushing the Blues out or just a lack of consistent traffic, it's something that needs quick fixing.

"We obviously haven't been scoring as many goals like we'd obviously like, but we're getting a few chances," center Brayden Schenn said. "I think we can do a better job of being harder around the net. That's a cliche answer, but really when it's not going your way and the tic-tac-toe goales aren't there, you've got to go to the net and get the dirty, greasy ones. We're going to try and do that and figure to get rewarded.

"It's a little bit of both. When you play these big teams, they do a good job of taking time and space away. It's hard to get in front of the net and blocking a lot of shots. There's nothing I think they're doing; I think we can do a better job -- all of us -- of getting pucks through and getting second and third chances.

"You try to will your way through it. It's nothing more than going to the blue paint to score goals. If you look at a lot of the goals around the league, they're scored within the five- and 10-foot range. We'll hopefully get to the front of the net tomorrow and try to find those rebounds."

* Mixed emotions for Thorburn -- Blues right wing Chris Thorburn admitted he took a peek at the schedule when it came out last summer.

After signing a two-year, $1.8 million contract to join the Blues, it marked the first time since 2007 that Thorburn would wear anything other than a Atlanta/Winnipeg jersey.

Thorburn spent four seasons with the Thrashers before the franchise relocated to Winnipeg in 2011, and he spent the past six seasons with the Jets.

He'll face the Jets on Saturday for the first time.

"There's mixed emotions," Thorburn said. "... I think it is going to be weird, so I'm just going to take it in stride, just play my game. I'm sure there's going to be some chatting. 

"When I signed in the summer and the schedule got released, we definitely took a peek at it to see what the schedule held. It's something that's in the back of my mind."

Thorburn said he still has many friends on the Jets and isn't surprised to see them thriving in the heated Central Division.

"They were all my friends," Thorburn said. "We had a good locker room. All over the league, if you talk to many guys, locker rooms are pretty tight, especially if you're an older guy. I've been around for a while, so I cherish those friendships and memories that will last a long time.

"They were on the brink for a few years. They just had to tighten up on  few spots and they've done that. They're doing really well, but we are too, and it makes it a lot easier to handle."  

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Blues offense remains throttled in 3-1 loss to Ducks

Losses of injured players Schwartz, Pietrangelo showing; 
second home loss in a row for St. Louis, outscored 6-1 in process 

By LOU KORAC
ST. LOUIS -- On Tuesday, the Blues felt their game was good enough to win. On Thursday, from a defensive and goaltending standpoint, it was also good enough to win.

But when goals aren't going into the net, it becomes a concern, and that concern is at the front of what ails the Blues after a 3-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday before 17,822 at Scottrade Center.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Blues center Patrik Berglund (right) passes the puck while being defended
by Ducks center Adam Henrique on Thursday.

It marks two games in which the Blues (21-10-2) have managed one goal on home ice, Patrik Berglund's goal with 5 minutes, 53 seconds remaining to break John Gibson's shutout bid looking to be the second goalie in as many games on home ice to throw up a goose egg on the Blues.

Yes, they're missing Jaden Schwartz and Alex Pietrangelo. Jay Bouwmeester was a late scratch Thursday after taking warmups and replaced by Jordan Schmaltz. 

Offensively, the Blues looked lost, and the same narratives are coming from the locker room afterwards: there's not enough interior play and they're making it too easy on the opposition.

"I think it's up to us to get there," Berglund said. "I think we're not cheating the game right now, but we've got to find ways to get bodies in front of the net and to get pucks there. Right now when we're down there, sometimes it just looks a little too easy for the other team.

"It looked like we got a lot of shots blocked today too (19) so we've got to be more desperate, especially at home, we've just got to bear down and play better hockey."

The Blues, who went 0-for-4 on the power play, sprinkled in a few decent scoring chances on Gibson, who made 29 saves. He stopped Joel Edmundson's breakaway bid at 2:25 of the second, and Magnus Paajarvi hit the post on a shot in the first and Vladimir Tarasenko's shot off the bar with five seconds left in the second kept it a 1-0 game.

But the bottom line is this team is really struggling without Schwartz and Pietrangelo, and coach Mike Yeo having to use guys higher up in the lineup is giving the Blues right now little to nothing.

"It’s execution again," Yeo said. "I’ve been trying to manage the rest here. Obviously we’re playing a lot of games in a lot of days, and with that obviously we lack some practice time. 

"We’re going to hit the ice tomorrow. It won’t be a long skate, but I think just the opportunity to get out there and just execute the day before the game. I think that will help."

Kevin Roy scored twice for the Ducks after being recalled from San Diego of the American Hockey League to replace the injured Corey Perry in the lineup.

The Ducks (14-11-7) are 3-0-1 in the past four games and have a point in six straight (3-0-3). Andrew Cogliano scored, and John Gibson made 29 saves.

Berglund's goal was the 300th point of his NHL career, all for the Blues, and Jake Allen made 15 saves.

St. Louis has been outscored 6-1 in losing two in a row, and a lack of interior play is really bringing the Blues down right now.

"I think for one, you look at the shots that are getting blocked, we’ve got to shoot the puck quicker," Yeo said. "Every time we get the puck, we’re trying to turn that play into a goal … obviously, but if you hang onto the puck a little bit longer, No. 1 you need a perfect shot to beat the goalie because they’re going to get in position … they’re going to come out, they’re going to cut off their angle, they’re going to get square to the puck. But No. 2, it’s more difficult to get those shots through because people have moved out on you and now they’ve found a way to get in those lanes. So I think that mindset would help a little bit, but you know … it’s a matter of not only finding a way to get the secondary opportunities, but it’s been a while since we’ve had a tip or a deflection or something like that. So I just think getting our head up in certain situations, if there’s a lane there then take it, and if not, maybe there’s another lane for a stick or another option."

Cogliano scored his first goal in 23 games; he took Rickard Rakell's backhand pass and banked in a shot at 11:11 of the second period for a 1-0 lead.

It was the second game in which the Blues were in a one-goal game but could never get the lead in doing so. 

Berglund ended Gibson's shutout with a goal at 14:07 of the third period to make it 3-1. It was St. Louis' first goal in 114:07 after being shut out by the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-0 on Tuesday.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Blues goalie Jake Allen (34) makes a save on a breakaway attempt by
Rickard Rakell on Thursday. The Ducks won 3-1.

Roy scored twice in a 2:45 span in the third period. He made it 2-0 at 5:43 and 3-0 at 8:28.

"I don't really know if there's a certain thing you can point at," Blues defenseman Vince Dunn said. "I think it's just kind of one way it doesn't go our way, and I think the guys coming out for the next shift aren't picking it up after those guys. I think it's just not the kind of hockey St. Louis plays. The way we came into that game was kind of the way we came into that game [Tuesday] against Tampa. We were in it until the third and the goals that we gave up were all pretty preventable."

Yeo said he and the Blues felt Bouwmeester would be ready but now he'll be held out throughout weekend games on Saturday and Sunday against the Winnipeg Jets and be re-evaluated next week.

(12-14-17) Ducks-Blues Gameday Lineup

By LOU KORAC
ST. LOUIS -- The Blues will get Jay Bouwmeester back on Thursday against the Anaheim Ducks (7 p.m.; FS-MW, KMOX 1120-AM) after the defenseman missed one game with an undisclosed injury.

Bouwmeester, who missed 21 games to start the season with a fractured left ankle, will play alongide Robert Bortuzzo after missing a 3-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

"I think so. As long as I don't fall out of bed or do something like that," Bouwmeester on playing. "I had something lingering, hopefully it will work.

"It's good enough to play, so you play."

With Bouwmeester's return, Jordan Schmaltz, who was recalled from San Antonio of the American Hockey League on Tuesday, will be a healthy scratch after playing on Tuesday.

"We felt pretty good that this would come about quickly," Blues coach Mike Yeo said of Bouwmeester's injury. "Maybe if it was the playoffs the last game he would have been in there, but getting the night off … it's good to have him back.

"... We want to make sure he doesn't hurt it any worse and it gives it a chance to heal and the second part is you want to make sure he can perform at the level he needs to. Today we're confident he can."

- - -

Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (lower body) and goalie Carter Hutton (lower body) were both on the ice for the morning skate and appear ready to return when each are eligible to come off injured reserve.

In Hutton's case, that would be on Friday after skating for a third straight day. For Pietrangelo, who blocked a shot on Saturday's 6-1 win at Detroit, that would be Sunday. 

"Things went well," Yeo said of Pietrangelo. "He's not in tonight but a good sign that he's not too far away.

"I talked to 'Hutts' too, there's a chance we could see 'Hutts' this weekend. A good practice today, starting to feel better, another guy we'd be excited to get back."

- - -

The Blues (21-9-2), who have the most points in the Western Conference with 44, and Ducks (13-11-7) played here on Nov. 29, a 3-2 Ducks win in which the Blues fell behind 3-0 and lost the game on special teams.

"They obviously played us hard, played us well," Blues center Brayden Schenn said. "They're tight defensively, don't give you a whole lot. We're going to have to earn our chances tonight, earn our opportunities. They're a structured team, a detailed team and playing hard for one another right now, so it's going to be a good game tonight."

The Ducks scored early, then added two power-play goals playing with a lineup without many key players.

Tonight, they will be without Corey Perry (lower body) but do have Ryan Getzlaf and Rickard Rakell among others back who did not play here 16 days ago. Also, the Ducks have since added Adam Henrique from the New Jersey Devils.

"What we can take from it is what a hard game it was," Yeo said of the last meeting. "Looking at the video of them, they've got some guys coming back into the lineup now, they're still in a desperate position and that desperation is showing up in their play. The work ethic they have, the structure, the tightness of their checking game, the commitment they have to get to their game, that forecheck, that offensive zone play game, you're seeing it shift after shift so it's going to be a real hard game tonight in all areas. They're going to force you to defend in hard areas, and for you to get to your game, you have to do a lot of things well in terms of your execution and your work ethic to try to create something.

"They came out with a desperation we didn't match. I felt from the drop of the puck to the end of the day. I thought at the end of the day they deserved to win."

- - -

The Blues tinkered with their bottom six forwards and will move Scottie Upshall up to the third line to play with Patrik Berglund and Ivan Barbashev and drop Magnus Paajarvi to the fourth line with Kyle Brodziak and Chris Thorburn, who returns after being a healthy scratch the past three games and five of the past six games.

"First off, when you think of 'Bergy's game, you think of him motoring around the offensive zone, moving his feet, controlling the puck, protecting the puck, and I feel that line hasn't had enough of that sustained pressure in the offensive zone," Yeo said. "Uppy's a guy with his speed and his competitiveness that should help to create some turnovers on the forecheck. This is a team that we're looking at, their D gaps and their forwards track back. There hasn't been very little room in the neutral zone. Your forecheck game is going to be important in games like that. 'Uppy' is the kind of guy that can arrive and separate guys and help a guy like 'Bergy' get to his game.

"Twelve points is pretty darn good considering we've used [Upshall] exclusively in a checking role this year. I think what's important for 'Uppy' is those 12 points have come from checking, from his work ethic, so the conversation for him is, lets not change your game. You're there to add what you bring so make sure you bring it."

- - -

- Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko has just to goals the past 10 games despite having 82 shot attempts, or 8.2 per game. Tarasenko has an empty-net goal and overtime game winner the past 10 games. But Tarasenko does have 11 points (four goals, seven assists) the past 11 games.

- Goalie Jake Allen will start for the seventh straight game, nine of the past 10 and 14 of the past 16. Allen is 4-1-1 with 10 goals allowed the past six games with one shutout and has held opponents to two goals or fewer in past four starts.

Tonight, he will have Jordan Binnington as his backup. Binnington was recalled Thursday from Providence of the AHL.

- Schenn has six goals and seven points the past five games but had a four-game point streak end on Tuesday. He's living life now without Jaden Schwartz.

"You've got to put that behind you," Schenn said. "You can't worry about that anymore. Hopefully you get him back when he's supposed to return, but I don't try and worry about that anymore. I've got two good linemates right now with 'Jasky' [Dmitrij Jaskin] and 'Steener' [Alexander Steen] and I've got to find chemistry with those guys and be able to create with those guys. There's no sense in worrying about that anymore."

- - -

The Blues' projected lineup:

Vladimir Sobotka-Paul Stastny-Vladimir Tarasenko

Alexander Steen-Brayden Schenn-Dmitrij Jaskin

Scottie Upshall-Patrik Berglund-Ivan Barbashev

Magnus Paajarvi-Kyle Brodziak-Chris Thorburn

Joel Edmundson-Colton Parayko 

Jay Bouwmeester-Robert Bortuzzo

Carl Gunnarsson-Vince Dunn

Jake Allen will start in goal; Jordan Binnington will be the backup.

Healthy scratches include Oskar Sundqvist and Jordan Schmaltz. Alex Pietrangelo (lower body) is day-to-day, Jaden Schwartz (ankle) is out six weeks, Carter Hutton (lower body) can come off IR Friday and Zach Sanford (shoulder) is out indefinitely. Robby Fabbri (knee) is out for the season.

- - -

The Ducks' projected lineup:

Kevin Roy-Ryan Getzlaf-Jakob Silfverberg

Andrew Cogliano-Adam Henrique-Rickard Rakell

Joseph Blandisi-Antoine Vermette-Ondrej Kase

Chris Wagner-Derek Grant-Logan Shaw

Cam Fowler-Josh Manson

Francois Beauchemin-Brandon Montour

Andrew Welinski-Kevin Bieksa

John Gibson will start in goal; Ryan Miller will be the backup.

Healthy scratches include Korbinian Holzer and Dennis Rasmussen. Corey Perry (lower body), Nick Ritchie (upper body), Patrick Eaves (illness), Ryan Kesler (hip surgery), Mike Liambas (undisclosed) and Hampus Lindholm (upper body) are out.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

(12-14-17) BLUES NOTEBOOK

Bouwmeester, Pietrangelo progressing; Hutton close to returning; Schmaltz 
season debut goes well; Binnington recalled, Husso returns to San Antonio 

By LOU KORAC
ST. LOUIS -- The Blues played Tuesday without three of their top-minute players in a 3-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in a battle of top teams in the NHL and could be getting at least one of them back as early as Thursday.

Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester (undisclosed injury not related to the fractured left ankle sustained early in training camp) told coach Mike Yeo he was feeling better and the team is expected to make a decision in the morning, likely after the gameday skate prior to facing the Anaheim Ducks.

"I talked to him today. He's feeling better," Yeo said of Bouwmeester. "We'll see what happens there tomorrow."

Bouwmeester, who missed the first 21 games with that fractured left ankle, is dealing what an injury Yeo said was "nagging."

Stay tuned in the morning of Bouwmeester's availability.

As for captain Alex Pietrangelo, who is on injured reserve and is eligible to come off for Sunday's game at Winnipeg, the second leg of the back-to-back with the Jets (they play Saturday here), he's coming along.

"He's going to wait a couple days (before skating), but talked to him today and he's feeling better," Yeo said. "I know he hopped on the bike there. We'll keep him moving and obviously interested to get him back."

The Blues are obviously playing without Jaden Schwartz, who along with Pietrangelo missed his second straight game after both were injured blocking shots last Saturday in Detroit. Schwartz is out and will be re-evaluated in six weeks with a right ankle injury.

* Hutton ready to return -- Also on the injured front is goalie Carter Hutton, who was placed on injured reserve retroactive to last Thursday after he sustained a foot injury taking a puck off the skate of teammate Scottie Upshall during the morning skate before the Blues' game against the Dallas Stars.

Hutton, who skated in an optional practice on Wednesday, was on the ice for a second day in a row and can come off IR on Friday ahead of the home-and-home series with the Jets.

"I'm feeling better," said Hutton, who called it a freak play. "Now it's just a pain thing and we can deal with that. That's the part of playing hockey. You're never really too healthy. You're always kind of too banged up in some sort of way, but it's good to be back out there. A couple days off, it always kind of sucks. It's one of those things where when it happens, you're like, 'Oh OK, there's lots of hockey,' but then you miss the first game and you like really hate it, feel guilty. You want to play, you want to help out. That's kind of my mindset the way I was raised. But we're back and we'll look back in a couple months from now and we won't even remember this little couple days off.

"I'm good to go. I'll be ready to rock, granted I don't take any more slap shots to the feet."

Yeo was also hopeful.

"Today was a good step and obviously every day he gets on the ice right now, he's certainly getting closer," he said.

* Schmaltz debut good -- Blues defenseman Jordan Schmaltz, who played in just his 10th NHL regular-season game Tuesday playing alongside fellow rookie Vince Dunn, played 14 minutes, 13 seconds in his season debut.

The stat line doesn't jump out, but the pairing of Schmaltz and Dunn were not on the ice for any goals against and handled themselves well against the Lightning firepower.

"Being my first (NHL) game in a while, it kind of almost felt like my first game again," said Schmaltz, who is tied for the team lead in points in San Antonio with 19 (five goals, 14 assists) in 24 games. "I thought I was solid defensively and I think I can build off it for sure.

"You try not to think about it. I think you've just got to approach every shift like it's your last one out there, do your job, play simple, play hard and get after them."

Blues coach Mike Yeo had no qualms about playing the two rookies together despite what kind of offensive weapons the Lightning brought. Felt confident in their abilities and trusted they'd get the job done.

"There was some thought, but we wanted to see how they went out and how they played," Yeo said. "Given how the other team's lines were shaped up, we felt that we could put them in some situations to give them a chance. You start the game, you don't really know how it's going to end necessarily. Obviously you hope it's going to end the way you started it. They showed us pretty quickly they were up to the task.

"I thought [Schmaltz] played well. To me, he's playing with more pace than he did in training camp. He looks quicker, he's making decisions quickly and that goes with the puck but that also goes without the puck. I thought he closed on people quickly, I thought his gaps were good. A little bit more aggressive and confident than what we saw in training camp."

The familiarity of Schmaltz and Dunn playing together with the Chicago Wolves helped matters.

"We read each other pretty well," Dunn said. "We were comfortable that we hadn't played with each other from the previous years. I think we're pretty good together and obviously we're both rookies. We need to be energetic and do the right things over again. I was comfortable playing with him and I think he was, too. I think we handled them well and were ready whoever we were out against."

* Binnington recalled, Husso sent to Rampage -- The Blues swapped goalie prospects and recalled Jordan Binnington, who is on loan to the Providence Bruins, and assigned Ville Husso to the Rampage.

With Hutton's return imminent, it was important to get Husso back playing games with San Antonio while the Blues need a backup one more time Thursday, which will be Binnington.

"It's just important for young guys to play," Yeo said. "'Huss' has been here. He's back and up right now. He's not going to play in the game tomorrow, so both guys have been doing a good job this year. Binnington's been playing really well from the reports that we've been getting Husso's been playing really well, just coming off the injury and it's important that he gets playing and we'll bring 'Binner' up now."

Binnington is 6-1-0 and ranks second in the AHL with a 1.84 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage in eight games with the Bruins this season.

* Win streak ends -- The Blues' loss to the Lightning for the second time this season stopped a four-game winning streak but didn't come with many ill effects.

Other than converting on some solid scoring opportunities and beating goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, who stopped all 32 shots faced, the Blues probably were the better team on the ice but didn't win the most important category: the scoreboard.

"We played a pretty good game," Yeo said. "You look at every game and there's always some things that you can do a little bit differently, a little bit better in some situations. But their goalie played well. We checked hard, we defended well against a team that's not easy to defend against. We generated the opportunities. We had breakaways, we had 2-on-1's, we had opportunities in the offensive zone, but our execution in those situations weren't quite as sharp as we would have liked. Obviously we didn't find a way to score that dirty goal or that goal around the blue paint.

"We feel that if we can go out there and execute that game for the better part of 60 minutes, because it's never going to be perfect; don't matter who you're playing against. The opponent always has a say in it, but if for the better part of the game, if you're getting to your game, if it's got the picture of what your best game looks like, then yeah, more often than not, you're going to get the win. We didn't last night, so we'll have to find a way to come back and be a little bit better tomorrow.

It was a one-shot game until Nikita Kucherov scored to make it 2-0 with 6:23 remaining. That goal came moments before the Blues' Vladimir Sobotka missed on a wide open net that would have tied the game.

"I think we were in it right until the very end," Dunn said. "We definitely had our chances to put them in the back of the net. I think just looking at the positives, we can't shoot ourselves in the foot over that one. It's two top teams in the whole league coming together. We have guys missing, but definitely not an excuse. It wasn't a bad game, we weren't sloppy. I just think we need to capitalize when we have the opportunities. We've got to fight for those dirty goals."

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Shorthanded Blues miss scoring chances, fall 3-0 to Lightning

Battle of NHL's two top teams goes to Eastern Conference leaders; 
Vasilevskiy strong with 32-save shutout; St. Louis laments missed opportunities

By LOU KORAC
ST. LOUIS -- It's hard to imagine pulling positives in a shutout loss. But if the Blues can take that effort against that team and drag it into any night against most opponents, they will more times than not come out on the winning side of things.

In a battle of the top two teams in the NHL, the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Blues 3-0 on Tuesday before 18,290 at Scottrade Center playing without three key injured players (Jaden Schwartz, Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeeser) but probably played the better all-around game except one key area: finishing.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Blues defenseman Colton Parayko (55) looks to win a puck battle with the
Lightning's Vladislav Namestnikov on Tuesday at Scottrade Center.

The Blues (21-9-2), who saw their four-game winning streak end, failed to finish and the Lightning (22-6-2), the top scoring team in the NHL with 113 goals who have won five in a row, were able to finish on some opportunistic plays, including a couple turnovers that led to goals.

But the bottom line is the Blues, who outshot Tampa Bay 32-25, couldn't solve Andrei Vasilevskiy.

"I think guys competed hard tonight," Blues coach Mike Yeo said. "I thought for the most part we limited them to not a lot of quality scoring chances, I thought the PK was really good (3-for-3). We knew we were going to have to play tight, and I thought we created turnovers, we generated some opportunities and obviously there are some nights the goalie deserves credit and that guy's pretty good.

"Obviously the game is made up of a bunch of little plays and we had some opportunities there that we wish we had back, but he made some saves, too. It's a good hockey team that we played tonight and I thought we gave ourselves a good chance, we just didn't finish, we didn't capitalize, but if we keep playing like that, we'll get good results."

The Blues, playing rookies Vince Dunn and Jordan Schmaltz, who was recalled earlier in the day when the Blues put Pietrangelo on injured-reserve retroactive to Saturday, played structured defensively and limited the high-powered Lightning. 

But missing out on multiple scoring opportunities, including a trio of 2-on-1's in the second period and Vladimir Sobotka missing a wide open net in the third period that would have tied the game 1-1 really typified the night.

"I think we had our fair share of chances," Blues left wing Alexander Steen said. "I think they capitalized on a couple of theirs and they won the game on it.

"I'd say it was our finish tonight. I also think we were a little bit too much on the outside. I think when we had some chances, the goalie had good look at the pucks. We were a little too perimeter tonight to generate or to force one of those to go in."

Vasilevskiy made 32 saves, and Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point and Tyler Johnson scored for the Lightning.

It was Vasilevskiy's third shutout of the season; he leads the NHL with 20 wins. He became the sixth goaltender in NHL history to reach the 20-win mark within his first 25 appearances of a season.

Vasilevskiy was pulled here in a 5-4 Blues victory on Dec. 1, 2016 after allowing four goals on 16 shots.

"It's a pretty good feeling especially after last year I played half a game and gave up four goals," Vasilevskiy said. "It wasn't my best game. But as I say, the guys played pretty well and we all deserved the shutout.

"They're definitely the best team in the West. It was a tough challenge for us but the guys played pretty well in front of me. Overall, I thought we played well. I played my game too."

Jake Allen made 22 saves.

It's the third time the Blues were shut out on home ice in 17 games, but there wasn't much discouragement.

"Just look how tight the game was all the way through," said Blues defenseman Colton Parayko, who played a game-high 27 minutes, 44 seconds. "We definitely had our chances. Great saves by their goalie. I think that they do a great job of protecting their net, helping out with the second opportunities. But I obviously thought we did have our chances. We played well, we had some (offensive) zone time and things like that. I think it was just a good hockey game." 

The Blues missed a chance to tie the game when Sobotka took a pass from Vladimir Tarasenko and missed a wide-open net at 12:07 of the third period. Sobotka shot through the crease with Vasilevskiy out of position.

"I missed the empty-net. It is what it is," Sobotka said. "... It happens. I missed the net and it could be 1-1. They score next shift. Just slid off. It just hit the front of the stick, not the back of it. Kind of landed on my stick, but I missed it."

And in most cases, when one team misses, the other capitalizes, and Kucherov made it 2-0 with his 21st goal of the season on a shot from the high slot high over Allen's stick side at 13:37. Kucherov tied Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals for the NHL lead.

Point gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead with 45 seconds left in the first period after a Blues offensive-zone turnover by Dmitrij Jaskin led to an odd-man rush for the Lightning. Point's shot from the slot hit the crossbar but he followed up his rebound.

"I don’t really think I could pinpoint one thing," Parayko said for the lack of offense. "I just think that’s just the way it goes. That’s human nature. We all can’t score every single game. But at the same time, yeah, I don’t know, I just think it was a good game, it was tough, they play a good defensive game and their goalie made some really good saves. Obviously Jake did too, he kept us in the whole game. Like I said earlier, it was just a good hockey game."

Allen had a simple answer.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Blues goalie Jake Allen makes one of his 22 saves in a 3-0 loss to the
Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

"I just didn't think we made it hard enough on Vasilevskiy," he said. "He's the best goalie in the league this year, and it's not even close. We put pucks on net but pretty easy for him."

And it makes the Blues feel like they had every chance to win.

"I think tonight we were disappointed that we didn't get the win," Steen said. "Big parts of our game, I thought out d-core played solid. I would have liked to earn one of those bounces. We were just a little too much on the outside."

(12-12-17) Lightning-Blues Gameday Lineup

By LOU KORAC
ST. LOUIS -- More injury news trickled down for the Western Conference-leading Blues, who host the Eastern Conference-leading Tampa Bay Lightning today at 7 p.m. (NBCSN, KMOX 1120-AM).

Already without left wing Jaden Schwartz for six weeks with a right ankle injury, defenseman Alex Pietrangelo was placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury retroactive to Saturday after he blocked a shot against the Detroit Red Wings, and now defenseman Jay Bouwmeester will miss tonight's game with an undisclosed injury.

Pietrangelo came in Monday and received treatment and the Blues knew then he wouldn't be an option, so they opted for a healthy body the rest of the week considering the condensed schedule.

So the Blues will be without three of their top players against the NHL's top scoring team at 110 goals.

"He's still day to day for us, but looking at this week and the schedule we have, we didn't think he was going to get in these next couple games," Blues coach Mike Yeo said of Pietrangelo. "It gives us a chance to call in a healthy player without making a roster move. It puts him out for a week but we're still considering him day to day. We don't expect it to be long term. It's obviously frustrating for him to be out today but no point in putting him in a bad position too.

"'Bouw's going to be out tonight, too. Another day to day injury, going to be a good challenge for the guys we have in the lineup."

Recalled from the San Antonio Rampage, defenseman Jordan Schmaltz will jump right into the lineup and play alongside Vince Dunn

"Last year getting my feet wet or whatever, I haven't played a game at this level in a while, so obviously there's a little bit of an adjustment period," said Schmaltz, who has nine games of NHL experience in the regular season and one in the playoffs. "But I think you just get in there, do what you can and be confident."

So the Blues (21-8-2) will charge out Colton Parayko, Joel Edmundson, Carl Gunnarsson, Robert Bortuzzo, Schmaltz and Dunn against the explosive Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov and the rest of the high-flying Lightning, who are 21-6-2.

Stamkos (12 goals, 30 assists) and Kucherov (20 goals, 21 assists) are Nos. 1-2 in the NHL in points.

"I thought last game, Colton and Eddie did a real nice job along with 'Gunny' and 'Borts,'" Yeo said. "They played like veteran players, going to need them to tonight, both 'Dunner' and 'Schmaltzy,' young players, but we don't expect them to play young. We expect them to come in and be ready to contribute and be ready to be solid and find a way to help us get to our game."

The Blues won't back down from the challenge.

"The young guys have got to step up," the ever-so-young 24-year-old Edmundson said, who logged a career-high 25 minutes, 49 seconds on Sunday against Buffalo. "It's why they in the AHL. If there's chances like this, it's going to be exciting to see how they come up, especially against Tampa tonight, which is going to be a challenge. It'll be fun.

"Everyone wants to beat the best team in the league, and we've got a chance to do that tonight."

Parayko, who played a season-high 27:32 on Sunday, will be the one that draws the majority of Pietrangelo's minutes and Edmundson will be up in the 20's likely again.

"I'm looking forward to taking it on, taking on the roll, but you just realize how important of a piece 'Petro' is," Parayko said. "He obviously puts up a lot of minutes each night, obviously over 26 (minutes) I would say each night. Not only even-strength, but he plays on both penalty kill and power play. But at the same time, it's kind of the nature of our job. I think we've got to make sure we come together as a group collectively and get it done. It's going to be huge.

"We had this at the beginning of the year, too (with Bouwmeester and Alexander Steen out with injuries). I think the beauty is we continue to come together as a group and continue to find ways to get points and get wins. We are always finding ways to win. That's the beauty of our group."

- - -

Both teams are in search of their fifth straight win tonight, and if you think the Lightning will take the Blues lightly, think again.

"If you ever looked at it that way, I think you'd be in trouble," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "... The second you take anybody lightly in this League, you're in trouble. There's a reason why they're number one in the West., because they have a good team and they've got depth, and any time you've got a good goaltender back there, it's tough."

Yeo embraces the challenge the Lightning, who beat the Blues 2-1 in Tampa on Oct. 14, pose.

"It's a team that has the ability to score but more than that they're hungry to score," Yeo said. "They're dangerous off the rush, dangerous in the offensive zone, they can score making plays, and finding seams and creating movement and they can also score at the net. It's a great challenge for us to see how we defend against that tonight."

- - -

It was quite the whirlwind weekend for Blues forward Ivan Barbashev.

After being recalled Sunday from the Chicago Wolves to replace Schwartz, Barbashev was thrown right into the lineup against the Sabres in a 3-2 overtime victory.

Barbashev played Friday and Saturday with the Wolves against the Cleveland Monsters and pulled a trifecta of games in three days with the Blues on Sunday.

"It was pretty busy," Barbashev said. "... It doesn't matter. I was really happy to be here. They told me right away. It's nice.

"I was really happy to be back here just to play a game with the Blues again. It felt great. I thought the game (Sunday) was pretty good for me as well."

- - -

- Blues center Brayden Schenn, who was named the NHL First Star of the Week on Monday, has a four-game point streak (six goals, one assist).

- Blues goalie Jake Allen, the NHL Third Star of the Week last week, is 4-0-0 with a 1.50 goals-against average and .944 save percentage his past 4 starts.

- Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko has a three-game point streak (two goals, two assists) and has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) the past 10 games.

- Blues goalie Carter Hutton skated this morning and is eligible to come off IR on Thursday. He took a puck off the skate during the morning skate last Thursday before the Blues faced the Dallas Stars.

- The Blues announced late Tuesday afternoon they've assigned forward Sammy Blais to San Antonio. Blais has one goal and two assists in nine games with the Blues. It's the third time Blais has been assigned back to the AHL.

- - -

The Blues' projected lineup:

Vladimir Sobotka-Paul Stastny-Vladimir Tarasenko

Alexander Steen-Brayden Schenn-Dmitrij Jaskin

Ivan Barbashev-Patrik Berglund-Magnus Paajarvi 

Scottie Upshall-Oskar Sundqvist-Kyle Brodziak

Joel Edmundson-Colton Parayko

Carl Gunnarsson-Robert Bortuzzo

Vince Dunn-Jordan Schmaltz

Jake Allen will start in goal; Ville Husso will be the backup. 

Healthy scratches include Chris Thorburn and Sammy Blais. Jaden Schwartz (ankle), Alex Pietrangelo (lower body), Jay Bouwmeester (undisclosed), Carter Hutton (lower body) and Zach Sanford (shoulder) are all out. Robby Fabbri (knee) is out for the season.

- - -

The Lightning's projected lineup:

Vladislav Namestnikov-Steven Stamkos-Tyler Johnson

Ondrej Palat-Brayden Point-Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn-Yanni Gourde-Cory Conacher

Chris Kunitz-Cedric Paquette-Ryan Callahan

Victor Hedman-Andrej Sustr

Mikhail Sergachev-Anton Stralman

Slater Koekkoek-Dan Girardi

Andrei Vasilevskiy will start in goal; Peter Budaj will be the backup. 

The healthy scratch will be J.T. Brown. Jake Dotchin (undisclosed) and Braydon Coburn (lower body) are out.