Tuesday, December 22, 2015

(12-22-15) Blues-Bruins Gameday Lineup

BOSTON -- Jordan Caron, recalled from the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League on Sunday, will make his season debut against the team that took him with the 25th pick of the 2009 NHL Draft.

The Blues (20-11-4) will face the red-hot Boston Bruins (19-9-4) at 6 p.m. today (FS-MW, KMOX 1120-AM) 24 hours after blowing a three-goal lead against the Philadelphia Flyers in a 4-3 defeat.

The Blues, who have been outscored 10-3 in the past three games in second of back-to-backs, will sit Scott Gomez in place of Caron, who had nine goals and five assists in 25 games with the Wolves.

"We really liked him (during training camp)," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We really liked his strength on the puck. He had a slow start but he's played great down there lately. 

"He deserves a chance, playing that well down there. He deserves a chance to play. He plays every role there. He's scoring a lot there, he plays net-front on the power play, kills penalties. He's not going to have that responsibility tomorrow, but he's earned the right to come back and play. He's one of those guys that's right on the tip of being a regular NHL player, so hopefully he can get it done."

Caron, listed at 6-foot-2 and 198 pounds, will play the wing, which could move Scottie Upshall into the middle. The Blues didn't skate Tuesday morning.

"He's a good player," winger Magnus Paajarvi said of Caron after playing for a stint together with the Wolves. "He's been in the league before and he's a good skater and he wins battles. He goes to the hard areas. I haven't seen him too much, but I've seen enough. I think and hope he's going to do well. He's a good player."

Caron has played 153 NHL games with the Bruins and Colorado Avalanche.

"I think he's mostly a winger," Hitchcock said of Caron. "Gomez won't play (today), not on the back-to-back. We'll move somebody else in the middle there."

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The Blues will face a Bruins team that is 5-0-1 in their past six games and 11-1-3 in the past 15 but they're just 8-7-2 at TD Garden this season.

Boston will be without winger Max Talbot, who was suspended by the NHL's Department of Player Safety on Monday for an interference penalty on New Jersey's Jiri Tlusty on Sunday. Zac Rinaldo, who missed three games with an upper-body injury, will return to the lineup.

"We'll have to hopefully learn a lesson and one more before Christmas and we can go into Boston, a tough building, find two points in that barn," Blues captain David Backes said after the loss to the Flyers.

"We've got to look at it (today) and see what we did wrong and not do it again because we've got one more game and then we've got a break," Paajarvi said. "All in."

Bruins center Ryan Spooner has 10 points (seven assists) the past seven games, and Boston's penalty kill has jumped up to 16th in the NHL with 21 straight kills the past six games.

Hitchcock said the Bruins have gone back to the old way coach Claude Julien used to run his teams.

"Discipline is one thing, but discipline with the puck ... Boston makes you pay for taking risks," Hitchcock said. "Claude's gone back to the play they played before. He kind of changed at the start, but it's gone back to where they were before. This is the game they know. They've had good success with it. They've got a lot of structure in their game right now and our job is to pull them out of that structure, and his job is to pull us out of our structure. Two really well-structured teams and whoever pulls the other guy out is going to win the hockey game."

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With an assist Monday, Vladimir Tarasenko extended his point streak to six games (five goals, five assists) and will look to make it seven Tuesday. 

"I actually don't think he's hot. I think he's just playing good," Hitchcock said. "I don't think he's hot yet. I've seen him where he's hot, where everything looks like it's going to go in. What he is, he's consistent and timely. His timing, his consistency, his ability to score big goals at the right time ... I think that's what his strength is. But he's not hot yet. He's going to get hot because he's starting to see the value of 200 feet and he's making it more dangerous. You see some of the stuff he does killing penalties. He's dangerous killing penalties. You see some of the stuff he does checking-wise. He makes guys make big errors and gets the puck turned over. I think that's when he's going to get hot. 

"For a high-scoring player, he doesn't get a lot of odd-man rushes. He's going to get those if he continues to check the way he is. He's committed, he's good. He's really matured as a player for two years now, he's got a real dynamic two-way game going right now and that's what I think is going to make him more effective."

Kevin Shattenkirk has 20 points (five goals, 15 assists) after scoring a power play goal Monday.

The Blues lost in regulation for the first time this season when leading after two periods (10-1-1).

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The Blues' probable lineup:

Magnus Paajarvi-Paul Stastny-Vladimir Tarasenko

Alexander Steen-David Backes-Troy Brouwer

Robby Fabbri-Jori Lehtera-Scottie Upshall

Jordan Caron-Dmitrij Jaskin-Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester-Alex Pietrangelo

Colton Parayko-Kevin Shattenkirk

Joel Edmundson-Colton Parayko

Jake Allen will start in goal. Brian Elliott will be the backup. 

Healthy scratches include Robert Bortuzzo and Scott Gomez. Jaden Schwartz (ankle), Patrik Berglund (shoulder), Steve Ott (hamstring) and Kyle Brodziak (lower body) are out with injuries. Carl Gunnarsson sat out after taking a check to his left arm/wrist in the first period Monday. He returned in the second to finish but was left out for precautionary reasons.

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The Bruins' probable lineup:

Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Brett Connolly

Matt Beleskey-David Krejci-Loui Eriksson

Frank Vatrano-Ryan Spooner-Jimmy Hayes

Zac Rinaldo-Landon Ferraro-Tyler Randell

Zdeno Chara-Adam McQuaid

Dennis Seidenberg-Colin Miller

Torey Krug-Kevan Miller

Tuukka Rask will start in goal. Jonas Gustavsson will be the backup.

Healthy scratches include Zach Trotman and Joe Morrow. Chris Kelly (leg), Joonas Kemppainen (upper body) and David Pastrnak (foot) are out with injuries. Forward Max Talbot begins serving a two-game suspension handed down by the NHL's Department of Player Safety on Monday.

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