Thursday, December 9, 2021

(12-9-21) Red Wings-Blues Gameday Lineup

ST. LOUIS -- For a second straight game, the Blues (13-8-4) will play a player short, this time against the Detroit Red Wings (13-10-3) today at 7 p.m. (BSMW, ESPN 101.1-FM).

The Blues prevailed Tuesday playing a skater short to start the game, 4-3 in overtime over the Florida Panthers, a game in which they actually finished two players and a goalie short, but nonetheless, they prevailed.

They'll have to do so again tonight with Jake Walman (upper body injury) out after he was injured in the third period Tuesday along with goalie Ville Husso (lower body). 

But since they did play a skater short then, the Blues were able to recall forward Nathan Walker from Springfield of the American Hockey League and he will be in the lineup tonight as part of a mix-and-match line with Dakota Joshua and whoever else jumps over the boards with them each shift.

"Definitely happy to be here and obviously want to do the best that I can in order to get the points up and get those wins," Walker said. "It's crazy. It's definitely part of the sport, injuries and obviously with COVID affecting the world right now. It's affecting pro sports too. It's pretty nuts, but we're just going to come in, play my game and do my part and hopefully get the two points tonight.

"... This is my third year with the organization now. I would like to think I work pretty hard and that feeds into my game. As long as I can do that, it gives us a chance to win tonight."

Walker has played in 25 NHL games, including 13 with the Blues in each of the past two seasons and has two goals and an assist in his time with St. Louis; he had 17 points (six goals, 11 assists) in 19 games with the Thunderbirds this season.

"He's a solid player," Blues coach Craig Berube said of Walker. "He's a good 200-foot player and he competes hard, he plays with a lot of energy and emotion, which is good for our hockey team. That's the main thing that he really brings. He has the ability to score some goals too. He scores in the minors pretty consistently. He can be used in a number of different situations up and down your lineup. I've used him up the lineup, down the lineup. He can kill penalties if we needed him to, too."

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Charlie Lindgren will make his second appearance with the Blues after the 27-year-old played the final 6:25 of Tuesday's win over the Panthers, a game in which he got the win in.

It will be Lindgren's first start since a 4-1 loss to the Panthers as a member of the Montreal Canadiens on March 7, 2020.

"He's been around, he's played games," Blues forward Brayden Schenn said of Lindgren. "We feel comfortable with him, we feel confident in him. He's a guy that's going to go out and just by seeing him in practice, he battles, he competes, he works, he's not going to give up on pucks. It's our job in front of him to make it a little bit easier on him. That's playing hard defensively. let him make the easy saves and we're looking forward to seeing him in there tonight."

Lindgren was 8-1-1 with a 2.16 goals-against average and .926 save percentage in Springfield in a tandem with Joel Hofer.

"In Springfield, he's kept us in a lot of games," Walker said. "Him and 'Hof' have been doing really well and it's exciting for him. I'm excited to watch him play tonight."

Lindgren is 11-12-2 with a 2.99 GAA and .907 save percentage in 25 NHL appearances and Tuesday was his first in relief; he will be backed up by Jon Gillies, signed to a one-year, two-way contract Wednesday as insurance for as long as Husso and Jordan Binnington (COVID protocol) are out.

"I don't have a ton of games under my belt but I definitely have more than a few and last year was my first year not playing a game in the NHL," Lindgren said. "I know with Montreal, whenever I got the chance to play for the Canadiens and got called up, I usually handled it pretty well and did a pretty good job. I don't feel intimidated by any means. I feel confident and  confident in the guys in the room too and just not going to over-think anything. Just going to go out there and just try to be myself and play my game."

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Blues forward David Perron, who will miss his sixth straight game with an upper-body injury, was on the ice today for the morning skate and participated in line rushes and special teams work, a positive sign for a potential imminent return.

With Tyler Bozak eligible to return to the ice Friday off COVID-19 protocol, the Blues can finally perhaps get back to some sanity of running a full lineup for games.

"He's feeling good, so it's a good sign that he's out there with us," Berube said of Perron. "He'll skate with us tomorrow and we'll go from there."

"Honestly, soon to get one player at a time," Schenn said. "They're all going to obviously be closer day by day and with 'DP', he knows when he's going to be ready. At the end of the day, just go out there and it's nice to see him out there smiling and joking around and being the guy he is. It's one day closer to playing, and whenever that day comes, we're obviously looking forward to him being back in the lineup."

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Speaking of feeling good, Schenn said he's finally feeling like his old self after his upper-body injury that he sustained Oct. 30 against Chicago and put him out of the lineup after the first period of a Nov. 4 game at San Jose, leaving Schenn sidelined for nine games.

He scored in Tuesday's win, his first point in the seven games since he returned to the lineup.

"I feel good now," Schenn said. "For a while there, five or six games, you come back and you try and help the team. Maybe it's a little bit too early, but now I feel 100 percent. I feel I can go out and play the physical style of hockey that I need to play in order to be effective. I think when I do that, other elements or other parts of the game kind of come out for me. I feel good, I feel ready to go and trying to help this team win hockey games and contribute offensively more."

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The Blues' projected lineup:

Brandon Saad-Ryan O'Reilly-Jordan Kyrou 

Pavel Buchnevich-Ivan Barbashev-Vladimir Tarasenko 

Logan Brown-Brayden Schenn-Oskar Sundqvist

Nathan Walker-Dakota Joshua 

Niko Mikkola-Colton Parayko

Marco Scandella-Torey Krug

Scott Perunovich-Robert Bortuzzo

Charlie Lindgren will start in goal; Jon Gillies will be the backup. 

The Blues have no healthy scratches. David Perron (upper body), Robert Thomas (lower 
body), James Neal (upper body), Klim Kostin (upper body), Ville Husso (lower body) and Jake Walman (upper body) are all out. Tyler Bozak, Jordan Binnington and Justin Faulk are in COVID-19 protocol.

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The Red Wings' projected lineup:

Robby Fabbri-Dylan Larkin-Lucas Raymond

Joe Veleno-Pius Suter-Filip Zadina

Vladislav Namestnikov-Michael Rasmussen-Adam Erne

Givani Smith-Carter Rowney-Sam Gagner

Danny DeKeyser-Moritz Seider

Nick Leddy-Filip Hronek

Jordan Oesterle-Dan Renouf

Alex Nedeljkovic will start in goal; Thomas Greiss will be the backup.

Healthy scratches include Luke Witkowski, Kyle Criscuolo and Brian Lashoff. Troy Stecher (wrist), Mitchell Stephens (lower body) and Gustav Lindstrom (lower body) are out. Tyler Bertuzzi and Marc Staal are in COVID-19 protocol.

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