Tuesday, December 11, 2018

(12-11-18) Panthers-Blues Gameday Lineup

ST. LOUIS -- The Blues are getting one player back against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday (7 p.m.; FS-MW, KMOX 1120-AM) but losing another.

Forward Jaden Schwartz returns after missing the past 11 games with a broken finger sustained while getting hit by a Vladimir Tarasenko shot on Nov. 16 against the Vegas Golden Knights.

Schwartz will join Brayden Schenn and David Perron, who rejoins the lineup after being a healthy scratch on Sunday, on a line.

"It feels good, so obviously really excited to get back in tonight. I'm pretty anxious. I've had the butterflies leading up to this point. Kind of makes you sick to your stomach when you find out you can't play and you have to sit out. It's not a fun feeling. 

"Obviously when you get back in, you get back and help your teammates out, do what you love to do, it's pretty exciting."

Blues interim coach Craig Berube said the addition of Schwartz, who has nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 15 games this season -- he missed two with a lower-body injury earlier this season -- adds multi-dimensional elements.

"Great energy player, works extremely hard," Berube said. "In the offensive zone, just his work ethic, pursuit on the puck. Just everything. Getting pucks to the net. He drives our engine. He goes."

Schenn has played his best hockey with Schwartz on his line and is excited to have him back.

"Huge for our team. We all know that, everyone knows that," Schenn said. "He's an important piece for our hockey team. He does everything for us, power play, PK, generates chances 5 on 5, obviously a leader on and off the ice. I'm looking forward to having him back."

The Blues (10-14-4) will miss defenseman Joel Edmundson tonight. Edmundson, who Berube said was given a maintenance day on Monday, will miss due to an upper-body injury. 

Edmundson was struck by the stick of Vancouver's Brock Boeser with 3:55 remaining in the game on Sunday. Jordan Schmaltz will enter the lineup in place of Edmundson, just the second time in six games Schmaltz will play.

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Blues defenseman Chris Butler will play in his 400th NHL game.

Butler, a St. Louis native who attended Chaminade High School, has taken the long road to get to 400 but is here out of necessity because of injuries on the blue line.

"Took a few too many years," Butler joked. "I'll take it though. Growing up, I probably thought I wouldn't get one, so to have some longevity in this game and to be able to stick around, a couple years ago and you head down the American (Hockey) League and I understand it's a young man's game these days, there's a chance that number may not come to fruition. I was stuck at 392 or 394, something like that. To get those last couple games, it's pretty cool.

"I don't know how many years it took me to go from 300 to 400. A little bit longer than I certainly would have hoped, but you've got to enjoy every single one of them."

Butler has a goal and an assist in five games this season and 86 points (14 goals, 72 assists) in 399 NHL games.

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Blues forwards Jordan Kyrou and Zach Sanford will be healthy scratches with Perron and Schwartz back in.

Berube said it comes down to a few mechanics the young players can fix.

This will be the first healthy scratch for Sanford, who has played 23 games, since he was recalled from San Antonio on Oct. 15.

"Puck touches for sure," Berube said. "A lot of turnovers and stuff like that. They've got to be better in those areas. Harder on pucks, heavier on pucks, things like that, recognizing situations, when to get pucks deep and when to get pucks out. That's all. They're good players. They're going to help us, but there's times where they can sit out and watch. They can learn from that too."

Sanford was involved in an on-ice altercation with teammate Robert Bortuzzo on Monday, and all was back to normal on Tuesday.

"The mood today, now you kind of laugh about it," Butler said. "That might sound weird to some people laughing about a fight that happens amongst teammates. When you spend a lot of time with each other, you kind of get tired of seeing guys certain days. It happens. It's happened on every single team I've played on the last decade. It blows over and you get ready for today. We're playing a dangerous offensive team, a little bit like Vancouver with real high-end skill. We're going to have to be careful with how we manage the puck tonight."

We've seen that before, guys battling full of emotion," Schenn said. "That's all it is. It's nothing more than guys battling hard in practice and emotions get the best of them and I'm sure they're fine today."

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The Anaheim Ducks claimed goalie Chad Johnson off waivers Tuesday after the Blues left him exposed following the call-up of Jordan Binnington from San Antonio.

Johnson, signed to back up Jake Allen on a one-year, $1.75 million contract, had a 1.83 goals-against average and .941 save percentage in his first five appearances but struggled with a 5.06 GAA and .832 save percentage his last five appearances. He was 2-6-0 with the Blues.

With Johnson gone and Binnington recalled, the Blues save roughly $700,000 in cap space.

The Ducks picked up Johnson after former Blue Ryan Miller sprained an MCL on Sunday and is expected to miss up to six weeks.

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The Blues' projected lineup:

Alexander Steen-Ryan O'Reilly-Vladimir Tarasenko

Jaden Schwartz-Brayden Schenn-David Perron

Pat Maroon-Tyler Bozak-Robert Thomas

Jordan Nolan-Ivan Barbashev-Oskar Sundqvist

Jay Bouwmeester-Colton Parayko

Vince Dunn-Robert Bortuzzo

Chris Butler-Jordan Schmaltz

Jake Allen will start in goal; Jordan Binnington will be the backup.

Healthy scratches include Jordan Kyrou and Zach Sanford. Alex Pietrangelo (hand/wrist), Joel Edmundson (upper body), Robby Fabbri (shoulder) and Carl Gunnarsson (wrist) are out.

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The Panthers' projected lineup:

Jonathan Huberdeau-Aleksander Barkov-Mike Hoffman

Frank Vatrano-Jared McCann-Evgenii Dadonov

Dryden Hunt-Denis Malgin-Troy Brouwer

Micheal Haley-Juho Lammikko-Colton Sceviour

Keith Yandle-Aaron Ekblad

Mike Matheson-Mark Pysyk

Bogdan Kiselevich-MacKenzie Weegar

Roberto Luongo is projected to start in goal; James Reimer would be the backup.

Healthy scratches are expected to be Alexander Petrovic and Anthony Greco. Nick Bjugstad (upper body), Vincent Trocheck (ankle), Derek MacKenzie (shoulder) and Jamie McGinn (back) are out.

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