Thursday, October 12, 2017

(10-12-17) Blues-Panthers Gameday Lineup

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The message from Blues forward Dmitrij Jaskin was simple.

"It will never happen again," Jaskin said Thursday morning.

Sounds like the words of a son or daughter after being scolded by their parents for doing something wrong.

Well Jaskin did do something wrong, albeit not of his intention, but the consequences for sleeping through an alarm and showing up late for a team meeting Tuesday was a benching against the New York Rangers.

"It's my mistake," Jaskin said. "There's no excuses."

Consider the one game benching over and done with, and Jaskin will be in the lineup when the Blues (4-0-0) play the third of a four-game trip against the Florida Panthers (1-1-0) at 6:30 p.m. (FS-MW, KMOX 1120-AM).

Jaskin, who has one assist in three games, will be given a chance by coach Mike Yeo to redeem himself tonight, and he will play on a line with Magnus Paajarvi and Oskar Sundqvist.

Jaskin met with Yeo and general manager Doug Armstrong to clear the air and feels all is right. Park the mistake and move on.

"He made a mistake, we dealt with it and we addressed it," Yeo said of Jaskin. "Now I also believe in giving a player a chance to respond and that's why he'll be in the lineup tonight.

"Learn from it and move forward. We obviously want to make sure it doesn't happen again."

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Jaskin will replace rookie Tage Thompson, who will be a healthy scratch for the first time this season.

The 2016 first-round pick doesn't have a point in four games but Yeo 

"We've been very conscious as a staff to make sure we're not overloading him," Yeo said of Thompson, "but at the same time, young players need coaching and they need feedback. For me, that was an opportunity to talk about some of the things that we've seen and give him a little tap on the shin pads."

Like any rookie, Thompson has had good stretches of play and there are signs of what he can become as his NHL career progresses, but the learning curves will also be there.

"For Tage, when you look at his game, there's certainly some examples of his skill-set coming through. Obviously he's big, he's strong, great hands, and I think there are other times where it shows that he's still learning the game and that's understandable. This is the best league in the world, so an understanding of sometimes moving the puck a little bit quicker, making sure we're not turning some pucks over in some areas and then obviously, he's an offensive guy, but when the offense isn't going in the net for you, you have to make sure you're not giving up anything against and those are just things with a young player like that is coming up and they've been as dominant in their whole life, there are things that maybe you haven't had to think about and build into your game."

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The Blues, through all the injuries and using young players through four games, have the chance at making history with a win tonight by becoming the first team in franchise history to begin a season with five straight victories.

The Blues' only other 4-0-0 start to a season was 2013-14, and they will be looking for a fourth straight road win to start a season, which has only been done one other time (2002-03 when they went 5-0-0).

"Obviously it's a really good start considering what we've gone through," defenseman Colton Parayko said. "I think it just goes to show what kind of character and the kind of team we've got in this locker room. It just goes to show the kind of depth as well. If you look at the guys that are coming in, they're playing well. 

"You mention the franchise record, it's pretty special that we have that opportunity. If we're going to want to do it, it's going to be a challenge tonight obviously. At the end of the day, we want to get the win and get the two points, but whenever you can get to a mark like that and set the bar, it's pretty cool. It's obviously the beginning of the season and a lot of work to be done, but it's exciting for everyone in this locker room. To hit a stride like that early on, it's fun."

The Blues have that tunnel vision outlook and focusing on the next game mentality, but it goes to show that the opening run is something nobody could envision considering the injuries to Alexander Steen (hand), Jay Bouwmeester (ankle), Robby Fabbri (knee), Patrik Berglund (shoulder) and Zach Sanford (shoulder).

"I'm exctied about the opportunity and hopefully proud after the game," Yeo said. "It's something we talked about obviously. 

"This is going to be a hard game. Watching the video on them, they really come at you. You look at a guy like (Aleksander) Barkov and what he can do, this kid's a stud and has the ability to control the game. They have a lot more than that, they're playing well, they're playing aggressive, they've got strength up front and on the back end. Getting that fifth one is going to be tough, but it's something we all want."

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Blues defensemen are making things hard on Yeo and when to insert veteran defenseman Nate Prosser into the lineup.

Prosser will be a healthy scratch for a fifth consecutive game, but Yeo was asked if at some point, will Prosser get into a game playing on a four-game, six-day trip.

"I talked to him out there, too, and he's a great pro," Yeo said. "Having 'Pross' in the past, I know when he comes into the lineup that he'll be ready to go. He's a competitive guy and he understands this game well. It hasn't worked out right now. I think the guys on the right side -- all the guys for that matter -- have played very well. He knows to stay ready and we know that we can count on him when he comes in."

Rookie Vince Dunn is one of those who is making decisions tough for Yeo.

"I would say that last game was probably his best game he's played for us," Yeo said. "I think the last two games, he's looked more instinctive on the ice. It seems like the game is kind of slowing down for him a little bit, which is what you want to see.

"We need him to be solid. We need to make sure he doesn't make mistakes and obviously not hurt the team, but at the same time, he's in the lineup because he's an offensive defenseman. He's a guy that has the ability to skate and transport the puck and move the puck and help us get to our game. I've seen a lot more situations and examples of that the last couple games."

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Speaking of Steen, Yeo said it was another good preparation day for him on the ice back in St. Louis on Wednesday, but Steen will miss his fifth and sixth games of the season; he did not make the trip and will not play tonight or in Tampa on Saturday either.

"He had a good day yesterday," Yeo said of Steen. "So we'll just keep going here. 

"He's definitely getting closer. He's inching along. He's out until the end of this trip."

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Three Blues players (Jaden Schwartz, Alex Pietrangelo and Paul Stastny) all will put four-game point streaks on the line tonight.

Schwartz (two goals, five assists) leads the way followed by Pietrangelo (two goals, four assists) and Stastny (one goal, four assists).

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The Blues' projected lineup

Vladimir Sobotka-Paul Stastny-Vladimir Tarasenko

Jaden Schwartz-Brayden Schenn-Ivan Barbashev

Magnus Paajarvi-Oskar Sundqvist-Dmitrij Jaskin

Scottie Upshall-Kyle Brodziak-Chris Thorburn

Joel Edmundson-Alex Pietrangelo

Carl Gunnarsson-Colton Parayko

Vince Dunn-Robert Bortuzzo

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

Healthy scratches include Nate Prosser, Tage Thompson and Wade Megan. Alexander Steen (hand) and Jay Bouwmeester (ankle) are day-to-day, Patrik Berglund (shoulder) is out until December, Zach Sanford (shoulder) is out until at least late February and Robby Fabbri (knee) is out for the season.

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The Panthers' projected lineup:

Jonathan Huberdeau-Aleksander Barkov-Evgenii Dadonov

Jamie McGinn-Vincent Trocheck-Radim Vrbata

Connor Brickley-Jared McCann-Nick Bjugstad

Micheal Haley-Derek MacKenzie-Colton Sceviour

Keith Yandle-Aaron Ekblad

Mike Matheson-Mark Pysyk

Ian McCoshen-Alex Petrovic

Roberto Luongo will start in goal; James Reimer will be the backup.

Healthy scratches include Denis Malgin, Owen Tippett and MacKenzie Weegar. The Panthers report no injuries.

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