By LOU KORAC
ST. LOUIS -- Scottie Upshall took part in an optional morning skate Thursday before the Blues (6-2-1) faced the Anaheim Ducks (1-6-2) at 7 p.m. (FS-MW, KMOX 1120-AM) but it appears he will not play.
Upshall, who coach Ken Hitchcock said was dinged up late in the 2-0 victory Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning, did not take part in a full practice Wednesday.
With Upshall apparently out, Ty Rattie will slide in and play.
With it being 10th game tonight and the Blues all but have the injury bug down pat, it seems like the team has taken to heart the mantra of next-man-up-mentality.
"I liked what they've done; I've liked the way they've approached it," Hitchcock said. "It's more who's in rather than who's out. I like that. I think that's really helped us.
"You can commiserate with it all you want what's missing, but I like the fact that it's more about the guys that are in than the guys that are out, and sometimes that's a little bit harsh because you don't spend much time even socially with guys that are hurt unfortunately. But I like the fact that it's who's name comes up on the board. When it's your turn to play, it's your turn to play and we expect you to contribute."
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The Blues know the Ducks are a wounded animal right now. And they even have their captain, Ryan Getzlaf, who is out 4-12 days after having an appendectomy. But judging from their past two games of a five-game trip that concludes tonight, the Blues are wary of who Anaheim is and what they're capable of.
"Each game's different," Upshall said. "You worry about teams who you're expected to have success (against) and who you don't. You worry about them having a breakout game against you. I think they realize what kind of opportunity it is tonight for them. It's a tough building, we're obviously a tough team to play against. They're a team that rises to the occasion. They're missing their key guy in Getzlaf. They've got a stacked lineup, a team that can score goals and good goaltending. We're expecting them to push us and give us a test."
The Ducks are 0-3-1 on their trip but are coming off a 1-0 overtime loss at Chicago on Monday and a 4-3 loss at Dallas on Tuesday in which Anaheim lost a 3-0 first-period lead.
"I've been very impressed with the last two games," Hitchcock said of the Ducks. "They've played good. You run out of a little bit of steam in Dallas off back-to-back coming out of Chicago; that's not easy. For five of the last six periods, they've been very impressive. If that's the way they're going to play, they're going to win a lot of hockey games because they look like they're right back on track to be honest with you."
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The Blues' probable lineup:
Alexander Steen-Jori Lehtera-Vladimir Tarasenko
Dmitrij Jaskin-David Backes-Troy Brouwer
Robbi Fabbri-Scott Gomez-Ty Rattie
Steve Ott-Kyle Brodziak-Ryan Reaves
Jay Bouwmeester-Alex Pietrangelo
Carl Gunnarsson-Colton Parayko
Joel Edmundson-Robert Bortuzzo
Jake Allen will start in goal. Brian Elliott will be the backup.
Healthy scratches include Chris Butler and Scottie Upshall. Jaden Schwartz (ankle), Paul Stastny (foot), Patrik Berglund (shoulder) and Kevin Shattenkirk (lower body) are all out with injuries.
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The Ducks' projected lineup:
Carl Hagelin-Ryan Kesler-Corey Perry
Andrew Cogliano-Shawn Horcoff-Jakob Silfverberg
Jiri Sekac-Rickard Rakell-Chris Stewart
Patrick Maroon-Chris Wagner-Mike Santorelli
Cam Fowler-Korbinian Holzer
Hampus Lindholm-Kevin Bieksa
Clayton Stoner-Sami Vatanen
Frederik Andersen will start in goal. Anton Khudobin will be the backup.
Healthy scratches include Tim Jackman and Joe Piskula. Ryan Getzlaf (appendicitis), Simon Despres (upper body), Josh Manson (upper body) and Nate Thompson (shoulder) are out with injuries.
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