Tuesday, November 12, 2019

(11-12-19) Coyotes-Blues Gameday Lineup

ST. LOUIS -- The Blues are shooting for eight straight wins when they host the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday (7 p.m.; FS-MW, ESPN 101.1-FM).

The Blues, 12-3-3 on the season and 9-1-0 the past 10 games, have outscored their opponents 25-16 during this run, which includes five overtime wins.

"You can't be complaining when you've won seen in a row, but there's going to be ups and downs throughout a game, no doubt about it," Blues center Brayden Schenn said. "But I think we can be a little more consistent, especially in the third period when we've got these leads and we're kind of letting these teams back into it. I think that's one area of our game where we can touch up a little bit."

The Blues will face the Coyotes (10-6-2) on the second of back-to-back nights. Arizona blew a 3-0 lead before pulling past the Washington Capitals, 4-3 in a shootout, on Monday, ending Washington's six-game winning streak.

The Coyotes are 4-0-1 their past five road games and are 6-2-2 on the road this season.

"They had a good win, quick team, quick forwards, a lot of speed up front, they're goaltending's been solid this year," Blues coach Craig Berube said of Arizona. "Just pressure and stuff, they use their speed very well."

The Blues are expected to keep the same lineup, although Berube did say that defenseman Robert Bortuzzo, a healthy scratch the past six games, is a gametime decision. It could mean one of the other d-men are dinged up, someone is sick or simply Bortuzzo just needs a game.

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Troy Brouwer was wearing his familiar No. 36 and donning the Blues practice jersey on Tuesday morning. Kind of like old times.

Well, it's the first time Brouwer has donned the Blue Note since his departure following the 2015-16 season, but he is back, but this time, on a professional tryout along with fellow veteran Jamie McGinn, which the Blues announced on Monday that the forwards are here trying to earn a spot.

Brouwer, 34, skated here for the first time Tuesday morning, and McGinn, 31, who arrived in time to work with the team on Monday, come in with the open mind but with the objective of making the team.

"Anything can happen but my mindset is that I'm here to try to make the team and I'm going to do everything I can in the next 10 days to prove that I belong in the NHL and more importantly with the St. Louis Blues," Brouwer said. "I had a couple guys over for dinner on Thursday night, met 'Schwartzy' for a late lunch on Friday and there was a couple guys I didn't catch up with on Saturday so I figured I'd go down for the morning skate. Usually my little guy comes with me but he didn't want to on that day so 'Army' and I got to talking and I let him know I was still working toward trying to get back in the NHL. I had a couple other things on the go, like wanting to play in the Spengler Cup but if I get a job or an opportunity in the NHL, that's going to take precedent."

The Blues are looking for veteran experience and have 10 days to decide whether or not these two veterans can help add to the mix with Vladimir Tarasenko (dislocated left shoulder) out until the end of March and Alexander Steen (left high ankle sprain) out at least another three weeks or longer.

"Obviously we have some bodies down," Schenn said. "'Brouw' and 'Ginner', they've been good NHL guys for a long time, good pros. I don't know obviously what the plan is. Obviously there's an opportunity for them. Both are great guys, both are good locker room guys. I think they would be good additions for us, one way or another. I guess we'll see how it shakes out here in the next 10 days.

"Those guys are good pros, they've been good players in this league for a long time. I'm sure they're thankful for the tryout to show that they can still play in the league. I think with the way we play, they're big bodies, they're heavy guys, but they play hard. We'd like to have both of them in our locker room, they're both great guys and we'll see how it shakes out."

Brouwer, who had 21 points (12 goals, nine assists) with the Florida Panthers last season, was let go during training camp by the Panthers after playing out a one-year, $900,000 contract. His contract after he left the Blues, a four-year, $18 million deal signed with the Calgary Flames, was bought out after the second season.

"It's the second in two months. It's a little different aspect of it for sure," Brouwer said of going through a PTO. "I've been in the NHL a long time. Had contracts going into camp. This year, it really makes you think about how much you love the game. That month and a half there, I was at home, still training hard trying to get back in it because you miss it and you love it so much. The atmosphere, I've only been in here for a morning and I don't want to go already. It gives you that drive and that perspective. Careers are short and I've been really lucky to have a fairly long one, all things considering, but I don't want it to be over and I don't think I'm a player that can't play in this league and that's why I'm here trying to prove myself again."

In his one season with the Blues, Brouwer had 39 points (18 goals, 21 assists) in 82 regular-season games and 13 points (eight goals, five assists) in 20 playoff games, helping the Blues reach the conference final. 

Brouwer hopes some familiar faces help him in this process in earning a job.

"I hope so," he said. "I talked to Otter [Blues assistant coach Steve Ott, a teammate in 2015-16] a fair bit over the course of the last few months and my wife talked to his wife a bit. It's just, I feel like there's a lot of people that are here that know the player that I am. I won't even say the player that I was, the player that I am. I didn't have the greatest years in Calgary but I still feel like I'm a phenomenal player and I had a good season last year and I'm just looking to prove that again right now."

Brouwer's greatest memory and top moment in a Blues uniform came in Game 7 of the first round against the Chicago Blackhawks when he scored the tiebreaking goal in a 3-2 win.

He acknowledges that Pat Maroon's Game 7 double-OT winner against Dallas in the second round last year takes precedence in Blues history.

"In St. Louis, yes. Everything that led up to it, with not being able to get out of the first round for a couple years, for me against my old team, and being able to score a Game 7 winner, all contribute to probably the most fun moment I had in St. Louis, except for maybe my son being born when I first got here," Brouwer said.

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The Blues' projected lineup:

Jaden Schwartz-Brayden Schenn-Robert Thomas

Zach Sanford-Ryan O'Reilly-David Perron

Jacob de la Rose-Tyler Bozak-Sammy Blais 

Mackenzie MacEachern-Ivan Barbashev-Oskar Sundqvist

Carl Gunnarsson-Alex Pietrangelo 

Jay Bouwmeester-Colton Parayko

Vince Dunn-Justin Faulk 

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

The healthy scratch is expected to be Robert Bortuzzo. Vladimir Tarasenko (shoulder) and Alexander Steen (ankle) are out.

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The Coyotes' projected lineup:

Christian Dvorak-Nick Schmaltz-Phil Kessel

Clayton Keller-Derek Stepan-Conor Garland

Michael Grabner-Brad Richardson-Vinnie Hinostroza

Lawson Crouse-Carl Soderberg-Christian Fischer

Oliver Ekman-Larsson-Jason Demers

Jakob Chychrun-Alex Goligoski

Aaron Ness-Jordan Oesterle

Darcy Kuemper will start in goal; Antti Raanta will be the backup.

Healthy scratches are Barrett Hayton and Ilya Lyubushkin. Niklas Hjalmarsson (lower body) is out.

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