Monday, March 1, 2021

(3-1-21) Blues-Ducks Gameday Lineup

As the calendar turned to March, it was hard-pressed to think the Blues would be talking about Dakota Joshua making his NHL debut then.

But here we are.

Joshua, who was recalled from Utica of the American Hockey League and completed his required quarantine time, will make his NHL debut with the Blues (11-8-2) when they play the second of a six-game trip and first of two with the Anaheim Ducks (6-10-5) at 9 p.m. today at Honda Center (FS-MW, ESPN 101.1-FM).

Joshua, 24, comes into the lineup to replace Jacob de la Rose, who was the latest to be added to the injury list after leaving Saturday's 7-6 win at San Jose early in the first period with a lower-body injury, one that coach Craig Berube said, "de la Rose will be out for significant time."

Joshua had a goal and an assist in four games with the Comets to begin the season, but has been added to the Blues roster that is already without Vladimir Tarasenko (shoulder), Jaden Schwartz (lower body), Colton Parayko (undisclosed), Tyler Bozak (upper body), Ivan Barbashev (ankle), Robert Thomas (thumb) and now de la Rose.

He will play center between Kyle Clifford and Mackenzie MacEachern.

"Very excited," Joshua said. "I've been waiting my whole life for this chance. It's a a good thing to finally get here and get to it.

"I told my mom. She was the first person I told. It's been a long, long journey and she's been there obviously from the start. She's the first person I reached out to tell. ... She was overjoyed with excitement. I'm really excited, I'm sure she's really proud and happy that she gets to watch me play in the NHL tonight."

Joshua was acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2019 for future considerations after spending four years at Ohio State.

"Going four years in college, that ended up not working out (in Toronto) and very excited to come to St. Louis and start by professional career under the Blues.

"It all happened fast. That's part of the game obviously. You never know what to expect. Now here I am getting my chance and looking to make the most of it. ... I wasn't going to count myself out, but it happened really fast. Maybe not this fast, but I like to think that my time was coming soon."

Joshua played center in college and with the Blues already without Bozak, Thomas, Barbashev and now de la Rose, the reinforcements down the middle of the ice was drying up.

"We've had an abundance of them and it's really dried up with the injuries, but you've just got to keep banging away and we've got capable guys coming in and we've got young guys playing and are excited to play," Berube said. "They get an opportunity. It's good to see.

"He's big, got good size and skates well. He was playing well down there in Utica and doing a good job there. He was one of their better players. We're excited, we're excited to see him and he's excited to play obviously."

Joshua, who split his season between San Antonio (AHL) and Tulsa (ECHL) last season, had 18 points (six goals, 12 assists).

"I'm a power forward," Joshua said. "I like to get in on the forecheck and do my job and take pucks to the net. On the defensive side of things, play well within the structure and make sure I get the breakouts clean and get us going the other way.

"... That's why it's a good fit here. Definitely right up my alley. I love playing in this system and it fits my game well."

The Blues informed Joshua on Sunday he'd be in and prepared him accordingly.

'He knew in advance. He knew yesterday that he was going to play," Berube said. "We just talked to him about he situation and go over systems stuff with him a little bit, but more than anything about just going out and using his instincts and playing the game. It's his first NHL game and you don't want them overthinking it too much. You want them to just go out and use their ability more than anything.

"He's very excited, for sure. I mean, this is where these kids want to be. They want to be in the NHL, that's why they're doing this, that's why they're playing hockey is to get to the NHL and have a good career."

- - -

The Blues are coming off that wild 7-6 win at San Jose Saturday and know a win is a win at this point with plenty of regulars missing but know they need to clean up a lot of things.

"D-zone coverage more than anything," Berube said. "I don't know if it was loose or what it was, but just probably letting their guys beat us back to our net out of a number of opportunities that they got from just their guys. They're a tenacious group in San Jose and they get on your quick. We didn't manage the puck very well coming out of our end and they took advantage of it and beat us to our net a bunch of times is what I took out of it."

- - -

Ville Husso, who got the win in relief of Jordan Binnington on Saturday, will get the start tonight.

Husso, who earned his first NHL win against Anaheim Jan. 31 in a 4-1 win, faced 21 shots and made 19 saves after coming in when the Blues were trailing 4-3 Saturday.

As for Binnington, who had a departure that everyone seems to still be talking about, he's played in 80 percent of the Blues' 21 games thus far and perhaps a rest will do him some good.

"He feels good, he says," Berube said of Binnington. "He has played a lot. I'm not looking into it too much, to be honest with you."

- - -

The Blues announced that they signed goalie Colten Ellis, a 2019 third-round pick, to a three-year, entry-level contract on Monday.

This season, Ellis has appeared in 17 games with the Charlottetown Islanders of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and leads the league with 16 wins (16-1-0) and is second with a 1.89 goals-against average and third with a .922 save percentage.

Ellis, who is 6-foot-1, 187 pounds, spent the past four seasons in the QMJHL, including 2017-18 when he was named to the All-Rookie Team and the Second All-Star Team. Overall, he's posted a 96-31-11 record with a 2.35 GAA and a .911 save percentage in 146 games.

- - -

Bozak is on the trip, Berube confirmed but hasn't resumed skating yet. 

Bozak did take part in a morning skate last week but never got on the ice again but Berube said they'll see how he feels Tuesday and get him out there then.

Bozak has missed 14 games with his injury that occurred Jan. 26 at Vegas stemming from a blindside hit by Mark Stone.

- - -

The Blues' projected lineup:

Zach Sanford-Ryan O'Reilly-Jordan Kyrou

Nathan Walker-Brayden Schenn-David Perron

Sammy Blais-Oskar Sundqvist-Mike Hoffman

Kyle Clifford-Dakota Joshua-Mackenzie MacEachern

Torey Krug-Justin Faulk

Vince Dunn-Marco Scandella

Niko Mikkola-Robert Bortuzzo

Ville Husso will start in goal; Jordan Binnington will be the backup. The Blues list no healthy scratches. Vladimir Tarasenko (shoulder), Jaden Schwartz (upper body), Colton Parayko (upper body), Tyler Bozak (upper body), Ivan Barbashev (ankle), Robert Thomas (thumb) and Jacob de la Rose (lower body) are all out.

- - -

The Ducks' projected lineup:

Max Comtois-Ryan Getzlaf-Max Jones

Trevor Zegras-Adam Henrique-Jakob Silfverberg

Sonny Milano-Isac Lundestrom-Rickard Rakell

Nicolas Deslauriers-Sam Steel-Vinni Lettieri

Josh Mahura-Kevin Shattenkirk

Cam Fowler-Jani Hakanpaa

Jacob Larsson-Ben Hutton

John Gibson will start in goal; Ryan Miller will be the backup. Healthy scratches include Troy Terry, Danton Heinen and Derek Grant. Josh Manson (oblique), Carter Rowney (lower body) and Hampus Lindholm (undisclosed) are out.

No comments:

Post a Comment