Monday, December 31, 2018

(12-31-18) Rangers-Blues Gameday Lineup

ST. LOUIS -- Robby Fabbri will finally get into the Blues' lineup on Monday when they close out 2018 against the New York Rangers (6 p.m.; FS-MW, KMOX 1120-AM).

Fabbri missed 11 games with a separated left shoulder sustained Dec. 1 at Arizona. He was taken off injured-reserve on Friday but was a healthy scratch in a 6-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.

The Blues (15-17-4) went 6-4-1 with Fabbri out of the lineup.

"It's obvious that the boys have been going well and that's great around here," Fabbri said. "I'm just coming in, trying not to mess that up at all, play the way I know how to play, play tenacious on the puck, and bring some energy."

Fabbri will jump in on the fourth line with Ivan Barbashev and Oskar Sundqvist and replace Jordan Nolan in the lineup.

"You see how well (those) two play together," Fabbri said. "Just trying to fit in with that and help them along."

Blues interim coach Craig Berube said it's been an adjustment for Fabbri, who's missed the past season and a half because of two left knee ACL tears.

"It's tough, he's missed a lot of hockey and he comes back and he's starting to do pretty well," Berube said. "He ends up getting injured again, but he's excited and we're happy to have him back.

"We can use his speed and his tenacity in the lineup. He's a good offensive player. ... That (fourth) line's been really good, but you have to make decisions and you want to get guys in. You don't want them sitting out too long when they're ready to go."

Fabbri has four points (two goals, two assists) in 15 games this season.

"It's been a little bit of a different start of the season that I wanted and hoped for," Fabbri said. "That's the game. There's adversity and I'm just going to go out and work hard every time in practice or in a game. I'm confident in my abilities so I just have to go do that.

"I think with that injury there, it's just a hockey injury. There's nothing you can do about that. It's just two guys racing for a puck and there's going to be contact on that play with whoever's going in there. Hopefully it holds up next time."

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Tonight will finally, FINALLY, mark the return to St. Louis for former Blues and Rangers defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk.

Shattenkirk, who has missed the past seven games with a separated shoulder sustained Dec. 10 against the Tampa Bay Lightning, has not played in St. Louis since he was traded to the Washington Capitals on Feb. 27, 2017 for forwards Zach Sanford and Brad Malone, a 2017 first-round pick and 2019 conditional second-round pick the Blues never got because the conditions were not met.

Shattenkirk spent parts of seven seasons in St. Louis and had 258 of his 329 NHL points (59 goals, 199 assists) with the Blues. 

"Still have some good buddies on the team," Shattenkirk told the New York Post after a practice at the Brentwood Ice Rink on Sunday. "This is a place that I called home for a long time and a place I really enjoyed living.

"... It’s going to be a bit emotional but fun to be coming back into the lineup in a place that I’m familiar with."

The Blues played against Shattenkirk early last season in New York but he did not play in the game in St. Louis because of a torn meniscus in his knee.

"I think the fans love 'Shatty' as much as we did," Fabbri said. "It will be different seeing him on the other side but it will be a lot of fun."

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The Blues' projected lineup:

Jaden Schwartz-Brayden Schenn-Vladimir Tarasenko

Alexander Steen-Ryan O'Reilly-David Perron

Pat Maroon-Tyler Bozak-Robert Thomas

Robby Fabbri-Ivan Barbashev-Oskar Sundqvist

Jay Bouwmeester-Alex Pietrangelo

Joel Edmundson-Colton Parayko 

Vince Dunn-Robert Bortuzzo

Jake Allen will start in goal; Evan Fitzpatrick will be the backup.

Healthy scratches include Jordan Schmaltz, Chris Butler and Jordan Nolan. Carl Gunnarsson (hand) is out but getting very close.

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The Rangers' projected lineup:

Chris Kreider-Mika Zibanejad-Jesper Fast 

Vladislav Namestnikov-Kevin Hayes-Mats Zuccarello

Boo Nieves-Brett Howden-Pavel Buchnevich

Cody McLeod-Ryan Strome-Jimmy Vesey  

Marc Staal-Neal Pionk

Brady Skjei-Adam McQuaid

Tony DeAngelo-Kevin Shattenkirk 

Henrik Lundqvist will start in goal; Alexandar Georgiev will be the backup.

Healthy scratches include Filip Chytil, Brendan Smith and Fredrik Claesson. The Rangers report no injuries.

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