Thursday, February 16, 2017

(2-16-17) Canucks-Blues Gameday Lineup

ST. LOUIS -- The Blues (30-22-5) will look to make it six straight wins when they they host the Vancouver Canucks (25-26-6) today at Scottrade Center (7 p.m.; FS-MW, KMOX 1120-AM).

The Blues are coming off a sweep of a five-game road trip, which is the first time in franchise history they've ever done that after a 2-0 win against the Detroit Red Wings off a game-winning goal from Ivan Barbashev and 25-save shutout for Carter Hutton, his second in as many starts and fourth in the past six road starts. Hutton had four career shutouts coming into this season.

"We've got a tough game," Blues coach Mike Yeo said after the game Wednesday. 

Yeo matched Leo Boivin in 1976 for the best start in franchise history as head coach at 6-1-0 since replacing Ken Hitchcock on Feb. 1. 

"They're sitting there waiting for us," Yeo said of the Canucks. "They're back in St. Louis right now. They're playing for their lives right now, so that will be a tough game (Thursday), but for us, we'll do what we've been doing, and that's we learn from this game, what we did well, what we need to do better and take it into (Thursday)." 

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Despite the shutout for Hutton, Jake Allen will start in goal. 

Allen is coming off a week in which he was named the NHL Second Star of the Week Monday after going 3-0-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average and .967 save percentage. 

"Jake will start (tonight)," Yeo said after the game. "That was the plan and we'll stay with that plan."

The Blues lead the Nashville Predators, who are on their bye week, by three points for third place in the Central Division.

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The Blues, who could once again incorporate a quartet of players recalled from the Chicago Wolves (Barbashev, Magnus Paajarvi, Kenny Agostino and Wade Megan), are utilizing those players more and more, particularly Barbashev, Agostino and Paajarvi, who were on a line together Wednesday.

They all played important minutes, and Yeo did not hesitate to utilize them in late-game situatons on defensive zone faceoffs and key moments down the stretch.

"It's easy for me to trust them right now because they're doing the job," Yeo said. "That's on them. It's awesome that they scored the goal; I love it, but what I also love is the fact that I can trust these guys in critical moments against top lines. I'm not trying to hide them, and they;re rewarding us."

Barbashev, who will play in his 10th NHL game tonight, said the confidence shown by the coaching staff certainly doesn't go unnoticed.

"When Mike put us with like five minutes to go, it's really awesome," Barbashev said. "It looks like he trusts us and we're getting some confidence with that. It makes us better players."

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With his fourth road shutout last night, Hutton has equaled the team record for the most in a single season (Allen in 2015-16 and Ty Conklin in 2009-10).

The Blues penalty kill has gone 19-for-19 under Yeo in seven games.

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The Blues' projected lineup:

Alexander Steen-Jori Lehtera-Vladimir Tarasenko

Jaden Schwartz-Patrik Berglund-David Perron

Kenny Agostino-Ivan Barbashev-Magnus Paajarvi

Nail Yakupov-Wade Megan-Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester-Alex Pietrangelo

Robert Bortuzzo-Kevin Shattenkirk

Joel Edmundson-Colton Parayko

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

Healthy scratches will include Carl Gunnarsson, Scottie Upshall and Dmitrij JaskinPaul Stastny (lower body), Robby Fabbri (knee) and Kyle Brodziak (foot) are out.

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The Canucks' projected lineup:

Daniel Sedin-Henrik Sedin-Markus Granlund

Loui Eriksson-Brandon Sutter-Jayson Megna

Alexandre Burrows-Bo Horvat-Jannik Hansen

Reid Boucher-Michael Chaput-Jack Skille

Alexander Edler-Troy Stecher

Luca Sbisa-Christopher Tanev

Ben Hutton-Nikita Tryamkin

Jacob Markstrom will start in goal; Ryan Miller will be the backup.

Healthy scratches could include Alex Biega, Philip Larsen and Brendan GaunceSven Baertschi (concussion), Erik Gudbranson (wrist), Anton Rodin (knee) and Derek Dorsett (neck) are out.

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