Wednesday, December 1, 2010

(12-1-10) Capitals-Blues Gameday Lineup

ST. LOUIS -- Dave Scatchard was half-asleep Tuesday night when his cell phone rang. There was one problem: it was turned off and no way of reaching him.

Fortunately, a teammate from the Peoria Rivermen is neighbor of Scatchard and was able to make a house call at midnight that the Blues were trying to get a hold of him.

The message: get packed and head to St. Louis as soon as possible.

Scatchard, a veteran center and winger Stefan Della Rovere got the call from the Blues and have been recalled from Peoria of the AHL. The Blues sent forwards T.J. Hensick and Chris Porter back to the Rivermen and officially placed winger David Perron on injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 4.

"I had my phone off, so one of my teammates had to come over and ring my doorbell," Scatchard said Wednesday morning before the Blues faced the Washington Capitals. "I had to pack up and go down to the rink at 6:30 this morning and drive down here. It's been a busy day so far."

Scatchard, who will not be in the lineup tonight, had three goals and 11 points in 23 games with the Rivermen.

"It's something I've been looking forward to all year," said Scatchard, who is on his sixth NHL roster. "I'm happy I got the chance, and I'll just give it everything I have.

"I'm going to come in and try to play a simple game and help out any way I can."

Della Rovere, 20, was acquired by the Blues during the off-season from the Capitals for enforcer D.J. King. He will make his NHL debut tonight and is excited to be doing so.

"I came early this morning and I still can't believe I'm playing in the NHL," Della Rovere said. "First game tonight is going to be unbelievable.

"I'm going to be nervous. It's obviously going to be my first NHL game. I played a couple exhibition games, but I know that's not going to be the same. It's going to be exciting and it's an opportunity for me. It's definitely a stepping-stone for my career."

Della Rovere, a teammate of Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo on Canada's World Junior team the past two years, tallied three goals and seven points in 20 games with the Rivermen.

"It's been going well," Della Rovere said of his time in Peoria. "For myself, I started off strong, I was out with an injury, came back and the last week, I had a pretty good week. Our team as a whole has been playing great there."

The Blues (12-8-3), riding a three-game losing streak after falling 7-5 in Chicago Tuesday, can use some jump.

"Hopefully, I can provide a little bit of a spark for the team," said Della Rovere, who brings, "physical play, in-your-face, be-an-agitator out there. I'm going to finish my checks as much as possible. I'm going to get pucks in deep and play simple hockey."

Blues coach Davis Payne said nobody expects Scatchard and Della Rovere to be saviors. Just add different element.

"Obviously with the way things have been going, we wanted to take a look at some guys that can potentially infuse our locker room with a little bit of energy," Payne said. "Della Rovere's a guy that plays that way, and Scatch is a guy who understands the situation. He's been here and is not going to get overwhelmed with it. We feel they're a good fit for what we've got going on right now and should round out some lines. Scatch has the ability to play the middle and play the wing and Rovi to get in there and stir some things up and get in on some fore-checks.

"Bottom line is we know it's the core guys that have got to get us through it and we know it's our key guys that have got to get us through it. There's no way saying that these guys are riding in on a white horse. These guys are going to play a part. Our key guys and our core group have to buckle down and get us through it."

- - -

The Blues got tremendous production from the line of Patrik Berglund, David Backes and Vladimir Sobotka in Chicago Tuesday.

The trio combined for eight points (Backes with a goal and three assists, Sobotka with three assists and Berglund with a goal) and were by far the Blues' best line.

But according to Payne, it's not expected to be in tact -- at least temporarily -- tonight against the Capitals.

The rationale?

Washington (17-6-2) brings an added element of firepower that the Blues feel like they have to adjust and defend a certain way.

"The (Alex) Ovechkin line brings a little bit of a different element that we've got to pay attention to. We'll structure it accordingly," Payne said.

"It's funny. It clicked, and now all of the sudden we're going to face a different opponent and look to different matchups and different lines in order to get the job done here tonight against Washington," Payne said. "That one goes in the data bank as a line that clicked well and we'll see again."

- - -

A side note to tonight's matchup is the anticipated return of King to St. Louis.

King, who spent parts of four injury-riddled seasons with the Blues, will play for the Capitals tonight and could square off against the Blues' Cam Janssen, whom the Blues chose to keep over King when making the decision this past summer regarding which agitator to keep.

Janssen and King, who were friends as teammates, are downplaying the idea that they expect to drop the gloves.

"There might not be any fights," Janssen said. "We're going to play hockey ... but don't think it's not going to be in the back of our minds."

Added King, "I didn't think much about it because we're friends. It's not like we're going to go out and look to do that, but if it happens, it happens."

Janssen could be in for a physical game, considering the Capitals may not have forgotten the hit Janssen laid on Washington's Matt Bradley when the two teams met here a season ago that knocked Bradley out of the game. Janssen received a game-misconduct and was suspended five games.

"They're probably going to come back and look for me after what happened," Janssen said. "But I did my time and it is what it is."

- - -

Payne would not tip his hand at the Blues' lines tonight, and the skate this morning was an optional, so here is a projected lineup based on matchups against the Caps:

Andy McDonald-David Backes-Brad Boyes

Brad Winchester-Patrik Berglund-Matt D'Agostini

Alex Steen-Jay McClement-B.J. Crombeen

Stefan Della Rovere-Vladimir Sobotka-Cam Janssen

The d-pairings will see Tyson Strachan back in for Nikita Nikitin (healthy scratch):

Eric Brewer-Erik Johnson

Barret Jackman-Alex Pietrangelo

Carlo Colaiacovo-Tyson Strachan

Jaroslav Halak, who helped upset the Capitals in the opening round of the playoffs a season ago with eighth-seeded Montreal, will get the nod in goal. Halak is 10-6-2 with a 2.37 goals-against average and .911 save percentage on the season.

- - -

The Capitals, who come in with a 5-5-1 road record, will likely roll out the following lines:

Alex Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-Alexander Semin

Mike Knuble-Brooks Laich-Eric Fehr

Jason Chimera-Marcus Johansson-Matt Bradley

D.J. King-Matt Hendricks-Boyd Gordon

D-pairings include:

Karl Alzner-John Carlson

Jeff Schultz-Mike Green

John Erskine-Tom Poti

Semyon Varlamov
, who is 3-1-0 on the season with a 1.87 GAA and .928 save percentage, will be in goal for Washington.

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