Friday, April 2, 2021

(4-2-21) Blues-Avalanche Gameday Lineup

Ivan Barbashev is back.

One of the Blues' energy skaters will mark his return to the lineup when the Blues (16-13-6) begin a key stretch of games at 8 p.m. today against the surging Colorado Avalanche (23-8-4) at Ball Arena in the first of back to back games against a club that has points in 12 straight games (10-0-2).

"It's been a while to be honest," Barbashev said. "I did a lot of work back in St. Louis while the team was on the road trip. Just typical rehab stuff. It seems to be feeling pretty good.

"It's been feeling really good and I'm excited to get back out there."

Barbashev has missed the past 18 games with a hairline fracture in his left ankle that required surgery after getting hit with friendly fire, a shot from teammate David Perron in the third period of a 3-2 overtime win against the San Jose Sharks on Feb. 18.

"I got hit a couple times that game, first and second period, but with that shot in the third period, it didn't feel too bad, but I felt something was maybe wrong," Barbashev said. "It was feeling pretty well that night, but the next day was a little bit uncomfortable. I kind of felt I was going to miss some of the games.

"It's tough when you're not around the team. You always want to be around the team. It was a little bit boring watching from home, but I'll tell you one thing, the guys did a good job those games. ... Hopefully I can bring some energy, go in front of the net and hopefully score some goals."

Barbashev is slated to play on a line with Tyler Bozak and Kyle Clifford tonight, with Sammy Blais the likely candidate to come out of the lineup.

"He's been a good penalty killer for us and been part of the penalty kill group for the last couple years and has done a good job," Blues coach Craig Berube said of Barbashev, who has six points (two goals, four assists) in 17 games this season. "On the other side of things, he's a hard guy to play against, he's physical and gets in on the forecheck and does the little things for our hockey team.

"We're getting more guys back all the time. It's good to see. We're starting to get as close as we can to a full lineup here, but we've got to go out and still play. We were playing pretty good hockey and then we started plugging guys back in  the lineup that were out a while, I just felt like we lost our chemistry a little bit. We need to get that back quickly here. These are big games this weekend against a real good opponent for sure. We definitely need to get on the same page here tonight."

Since the Avalanche last lost in regulation, 3-2 at home to the Arizona Coyotes on March 8, Colorado has outscored its opponents 57-19.

"These games bring out the best in us, I believe," Berube said. "We need to do that tonight for sure, especially here tonight in Colorado. This team plays very well at home. We're going to have to be on our toes here tonight and do a good job with and without the puck for sure and have a real good start to the game is crucial."

The Blues, trying to kick a four-game losing streak (0-3-1), will face the Avalanche for the first time since the first two games of the season and will see Colorado six times this month.

- - -

The Blues' projected lineup:

Jaden Schwartz-Ryan O'Reilly-Vladimir Tarasenko

Mike Hoffman-Brayden Schenn-David Perron

Zach Sanford-Robert Thomas-Jordan Kyrou

Kyle Clifford-Tyler Bozak-Ivan Barbashev

Torey Krug-Justin Faulk

Marco Scandella-Vince Dunn

Jake Walman-Robert Bortuzzo

Jordan Binnington will start in goal; Ville Husso will be the backup. Niko Mikkola, Sammy Blais and Jacob de la Rose are the healthy scratches. Colton Parayko (upper body) and Mackenzie MacEachern (upper body) are out. Carl Gunnarsson (knee) and Oskar Sundqvist (knee) are out for the season. 

- - -

The Avalanche's projected lineup:

Gabriel Landeskog-Nathan MacKinnon-Mikko Rantanen

Brandon Saad-Nazem Kadri-Andre Burakovsky

Valeri Nichushkin-Tyson Jost-Joonas Donskoi

J.T. Compher-Pierre-Edouard Bellemare-Liam O'Brien

Devon Toews-Samuel Girard

Ryan Graves-Cale Makar

Dan Renouf-Jacob MacDonald

Jonas Johansson will start in goal; Philipp Grubauer will be the backup. The Avalanche report no healthy scratches.  Bowen Byram (upper body), Matt Calvert (upper body), Pavel Francouz (lower body) and Erik Johnson (upper body) are out.

No comments:

Post a Comment