Tuesday, September 24, 2019

(9-24-19) Stars-Blues Preseason Gameday Lineup

ST. LOUIS -- Robert Thomas won't play for the Blues today when they host the Dallas Stars (7 p.m.; 101.1 ESPN-FM) in their fifth preseason game, but the second-year forward is gearing himself towards getting in a game or two before the regular-season opener Oct. 2 against the Washington Capitals.

Thomas is coming off tendon surgery in his left wrist, sustained in either Game 1 or 2 of the Western Conference Final against the San Jose Sharks

"It was just a fluke play," Thomas said. "I was moving the puck across my body, got a little bit of a bump, I wouldn't even call it a bump. I barely got touched and next thing I know, I was hurt. It's just a fluke play. I felt it right away."

Many out there felt that Thomas was injured even more when he took that check from Boston defenseman Torey Krug during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final but he squashed those doubts.

"That was nothing. Nothing happened from that," Thomas said. "(The wrist) wasn't in the best shape at that time. Before that game, I kind of had to pick and choose what the plan was moving forward. When I got into that game, I kind of figured I might need some rest after that one."

Blues coach Craig Berube has been impressed with Thomas' progress that he said he will play in the preseason.

"Close. I'm sure he'll be in one of these games coming up this week," Berube said. "It's important because it's different than just practicing, I'll tell you that. We'd like to get him in a couple games before the season."

Thomas said his surgical procedure was for a "couple hours," and that things are going well.

"Wrist is doing good," Thomas said. "Every day feeling a ton better. The progress is going real well.

"(Being ready for the season-opener) was never in doubt. The whole process was just I barely got to skate in the summer due to it, but the week before camp, it was kind of limited skates and stuff like that, but this little camp's just kind of been getting back up to speed, getting back adjusted to the speed of things."

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Forward Klim Kostin will get into a fourth preseason game tonight.

The 2017 first-round pick (31st pick), who is among the NHL preseason leaders with six points (three goals, three assists), has been impressing in training camp and will get another crack tonight, playing on a line with Robby Fabbri and Tyler Bozak, his same linemates as Sunday when he had a goal and assist in a 5-3 win against Columbus.

"He's a big guy and he's taking the puck to the net, getting chances and playing hard," Berube said of Kostin. "He's a physical player. He's done a good job."

Kostin's chances of cracking the opening night lineup are slim, but his progress is raising eyebrows. However, no concessions have been made.

"We're not there yet," Berube said. "We've got games left so we'll look at him and make decisions like we have to make. We're not there yet to determine what's going to happen."

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* Vladimir Tarasenko, who missed practice Monday due to illness, was not on the ice again, but Berube thinks he'll be back on the ice on Wednesday.

* Jake Allen will get the start and play the entire game tonight. It will be Allen's second start. He played two periods Friday in Winnipeg and made 17 saves on 19 shots in a 4-3 overtime win.

"It's important that they get a full game," Berube said. "Just get back in that routine."

* Jordan Kyrou (knee) seems to be ramping up his skates and was on the ice with the second group Tuesday.

He's not expected to make the opening night lineup here and seems destined to start in San Antonio but making progress.

"He's coming along," Berube said. "He's close to full practice, if not really already there, but pretty close."

* Center Oskar Sundqvist (upper body), who was injured last week in practice, will see his second preseason game tonight.

Sundqvist, who played the preseason opener in Dallas on Sept. 16, was supposed to play Sunday, but the Blues kept him out a couple days as a precaution.

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The Blues' projected lineup:

Jaden Schwartz-Brayden Schenn-Sammy Blais

Zach Sanford-Ryan O'Reilly-David Perron

Robby Fabbri-Tyler Bozak-Klim Kostin

Ivan Barbashev-Oskar Sundqvist-Alexander Steen

Vince Dunn-Alex Pietrangelo

Carl Gunnarsson-Joel Edmundson

Jake Walman-Robert Bortuzzo

Jake Allen will start in goal and play the entire game; Adam Wilcox will be the backup.

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The Stars' projected lineup:

Jame Benn-Roope Hintz-Alexander Radulov

Mattias Janmark-Jason Dickinson-Denis Gurianov

Nicholas Caamano-Rhett Gardner-Jason Robertson

Blake Comeau-Ty Dellandrea-Joel Kiviranta

Thomas Harley-John Klingberg

Esa Lindell-Roman Polak

Jamie Oleksiak-Andrej Sekera

Landon Bow will start and expected to play the first two periods; Jake Oettinger will be the backup and expected to play he third. 

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