Sunday, December 10, 2017

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

ST. LOUIS -- The Blues (20-8-2) got the news they weren't looking for Sunday before facing the Buffalo Sabres (7-17-5) on home ice Sunday evening (6 p.m.; FS-MW, KMOX 1120-AM).

An MRI confirmed to the Blues Jaden Schwartz's right ankle injury is more severe than they initially anticipated and placed the left wing on injured-reserve.

Schwartz will be re-evaluated in six weeks.

Schwartz was injured blocking a shot by defenseman Mike Green and was helped off the ice with 2:51 left in the first period of the Blues' 6-1 victory at the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday. He is scheduled to be re-evaluated in six weeks.

"It sucks," Blues center Brayden Schenn said. "He’s having a great year, doing it all for us at both ends of the ice and making stuff happen. He can definitely be in the conversation, (in) my opinion, our MVP thus far this season."

"That's a tough one," Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester said. "Especially he's been off to such a good start. He's been a real key player for us. Personally, I know it's hard for him, too, because he's dealt with things like this before a couple of times. But we've had injuries throughout the year, even in past years where we've been able as a group to kind of come together. It's an opportunity for other guys and all that stuff. Yeah, right now it sucks but the train doesn't stop moving. You've just gotta kinda pick each other up and keep going. . . .It's tough right now, but life goes on."

Schwartz, 25, has 35 points (14 goals, 21 assists), second on the Blues behind Schenn (15-21-36) and is tied for ninth in the NHL with Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (11-24-35). He's averaging 19:12 of ice time per game and has 247 points (103 goals, 144 assists) and 81 penalty minutes in 348 NHL regular-season games.

Schwartz missed 49 games during the 2015-16 season with a fractured left ankle, four games last season with an elbow injury and six games in the 2014-15 season with a broken bone in his foot blocking a shot against the Los Angeles Kings.

Blues coach Mike Yeo said after the game Saturday initial X-rays were negative but the team wanted to conduct further tests, including an MRI, after swelling went down and found more than what they initially thought. 

"That's why we got the MRI," Yeo said. "We were hopeful but talking to [Schwartz], there was enough concern that we get back here and get the MRI. Obviously some bad news.

"It's a tough break. I feel really bad for [Schwartz], just the year he's having, the way he's put himself on the map in our League, the recognition he's getting has been so well deserved, so I feel bad for him and obviously it's a loss for our group."

Forward Ivan Barbashev was recalled from Chicago of the American Hockey League. Barbashev, 21, has eight points (four goals, four assists) in 17 AHL games this season. Has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in 36 NHL regular-season games, including six this season.

"I heard he's been playing real well," Yeo said of Barbashev. "I'm excited to get him back in. The purpose of us sending down Barbie was not a matter of us not believing in him or trying to punish him, it was for him to find his game and all reports are that he's been much closer to that, much closer to the player he was when he got called up last year and when he played so well for us, so we're excited to see what he can bring for us."

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The Blues will also be without captain Alex Pietrangelo on their blue line tonight with a lower-body injury after he also blocked a shot moments before Schwartz during Saturday's win.

Yeo considers Pietrangelo day-to-day.

"Petro's going to be out tonight, too," Yeo said. "We'll call that day-to-day. He's going to try to skate tomorrow, go to the rink and see how that goes. But we'll call him day to day right now."

With Schwartz and Pietrangelo out, Chris Thurburn and Robert Bortuzzo will slot into the lineup.

"Every time a guy comes out of the lineup it's an opportunity for somebody else," Yeo said. "We'll have somebody ready to step up tonight and we'll dial it in with our team game."

The Blues didn't hold a morning skate, and Yeo said the line combinations and defensive pairings will be rounded out during the pregame warmups.

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- Blues goalie Jake Allen will make a back-to-back starts for the first time this season after stopping 28 of 29 shots on Saturday.

- Schenn has scored five goals the past three games and has six points during the streak after going five games without a point.

- The Blues are 4-0-1 this season in the second game of a back-to-back, 12-0-1 the past 13 and 19-2-1 the past 22 games in that setup.

- The Blues have point in 10 of the past 11 home games (9-1-1) against the Sabres, including a five-game winning streak.

- The Sabres are 31st in the NHL in offense (62 goals scored) and 30th in defense (99 goals allowed).

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The Blues' projected lineup:

Vladimir Sobotka-Paul Stastny-Vladimir Tarasenko

Dmitrij Jaskin-Brayden Schenn-Alexander Steen

Magnus Paajarvi-Patrik Berglund-Sammy Blais

Scottie Upshall-Kyle Brodziak-Chris Thorburn

Joel Edmundson-Colton Parayko

Jay Bouwmeester-Carl Gunnarsson

Vince Dunn-Robert Bortuzzo 

Jake Allen will start in goal; Ville Husso will be the backup.

Healthy scratches include Oskar Sundqvist and Ivan Barbashev. Jaden Schwartz (ankle), Alex Pietrangelo (lower body), Carter Hutton (lower body), Zach Sanford (shoulder) and Robby Fabbri (knee) are out.

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The Sabres' projected lineup:

Evander Kane-Jack Eichel-Jason Pominville

Benoit Pouliot-Ryan O'Reilly-Kyle Okposo

Scott Wilson-Evan Rodrigues-Sam Reinhart 

Zemgus Girgensons-Johan Larsson-Hudson Fasching

Marco Scandella-Rasmus Ristolainen

Jake McCabe-Zach Bogosian

Justin Falk-Victor Antipin

Robin Lehner will start in goal; Chad Johnson will be the backup. 

Healthy scratches include Josh Gorges and Jordan Nolan. Nathan Beaulieu (illness), Taylor Fedun (lower body) and Jacob Josefson (ankle) are out.

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