Saturday, October 1, 2022

(10-1-22) Stars-Blues Preseason Gameday Lineup

MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. -- First, Marco Scandella, and now with the potential of Scott Perunovich missing time because of injury, suddenly, it helps thrust those that were in the system higher up the ladder.

One skater to take advantage of the opportunity is Tyler Tucker, a seventh-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.

Tucker, who will be in the lineup today when the Blues host the Dallas Stars at 7 p.m. in Independence, Mo. at Cable Dahmer Arena, home of the Kansas City Mavericks of the ECHL.
Going into training camp, the Blues, 4-0-0 in the preseason, felt they had been set at defense with their top eight, and even when Scandella went down and is going to miss at least six months after surgery on his right hip joint, Perunovich and Niko Mikkola were elevated into the six-seven mix.

Perunovich suffered an upper-body injury Tuesday in Chicago, and the Blues are still evaluating the extent of the injury, but now the team, barring a trade, has been looking closely at those performing at the American Hockey League level.

Tucker has impressed thus far in his stint during training camp.

"I feel good," Tucker said. "Obviously coming in here, you're just trying to stay here as long as you can. For me to get a couple games under my belt has been nice and hopefully we can keep going along.

"I feel pretty confident right now. We had a good year last year in Springfield. Just trying to build off that and keep going."

Tucker will be paired with Robert Bortuzzo tonight and play in his third preseason game.

"He had a great game," Blues coach Craig Berube said after Thursday's 4-2 home preseason win over Columbus. "Really confident with the puck I thought, moved it well, skated with the puck, defended well, was aggressive with his defending. He didn’t get gapped out, he was up tight on people. I thought he had a solid game.

"I think for me, he's up on people all the time, whether it's off the rush or in d-zone and he's a hard guy. He's going to be physical on you, he's a big guy. His aggressiveness for me, and the other part of it is he's using his feet to be aggressive. He's getting pucks and skating right away, which is important moving, moving his feet and making plays. (He's) very noticeable; he's doing a real good job.

"He's put in work. We really liked him as a kid when he came in here, and he's still a kid. He was raw, a lot to learn and improve upon. He's put in a lot of work. He's gotten himself in good shape. He's improving in the details of the game as a defenseman. He's doing a great job. He's battling here and showing us what he can do and very noticeable."

Tucker had 18 points (three goals, 15 assists) in 72 regular-season games and had a goal and an assist in 18 games when the Thunderbirds went on their run to the Calder Cup Final.

"We played some good hockey down there," Tucker said. "There's some good players. We came up short, but I mean the experience and stuff was good for this, and obviously the confidence is high coming in here.

"I think my skating over the years have come a long way. If I can just keep working on that, I think things will be headed in the right direction for sure.

"Obviously it's a fast league, so you've got to move it quick. Even just in the American League last year, stepping into that, that's obviously a faster league than junior was. It just keeps getting faster and if I can keep doing the puck quick, that'll be good for me."

Chances are highly likely the 6-foot-1, 204-pound Thunder Bay, Ontario native will start the season there but he's definitely leaving a lasting impression.

"Obviously just keep working hard," Tucker said. "That's the biggest thing for me, just trying to get better every day and keep bringing the same competitiveness and details that I bring to the game every day. 

"Obviously there's opportunity. You've just got to go in and take it, right? If I can keep doing what I'm doing, hopefully I'll get my shot one day.

"You come in with the expectation to make the team. Obviously I fell short a couple years now, but you come in with the same expectation every year and try and make the team."

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Pavel Buchnevich, who missed practice on Friday after going to the eye doctor to clear up a potential infection, was back on the ice Saturday morning and will be in the lineup tonight, playing alongside linemates Vladimir Tarasenko and Robert Thomas.

Klim Kostin took part in both training sessions today and was an insurance policy in case Buchnevich wasn't available.

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The Blues' projected lineup:

Pavel Buchnevich-Robert Thomas-Vladimir Tarasenko

Brandon Saad-Ivan Barbashev-Josh Leivo

Zachary Bolduc-Logan Brown-Will Bitten

Matthew Highmore-Nikita Alexandrov-Anthony Angello

Nick Leddy-Colton Parayko

Calle Rosen-Matthew Kessel

Tyler Tucker-Robert Bortuzzo

Joel Hofer will start in goal; Vadim Zherenko will be the backup.

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The Stars' projected lineup:

Mason Marchment-Wyatt Johnston-Logan Stankoven

Riley Tufte-Riley Damiani-Marian Studenic

Jacob Peterson-Mavrik Bourque-Joel Kiviranta

Fredrik Karlstrom-Oskar Back-Fredrik Olofsson 

Joel Hanley-Collin Miller

Thomas Harley-Alexander Petrovic

Ryan Shea-Will Butcher

Jake Oettinger will start in goal; Remi Poirier will be the backup.

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