Thursday, October 6, 2022

(10-6-22) Blues-Blue Jackets Preseason Gameday Lineup

MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. -- Thomas Greiss will play the full game when the Blues (5-1-0) close out their road preseason schedule today at 6 p.m. against the Columbus Blue Jackets (3-2-1).

The Blues backup goalie to Jordan Binnington has played in three periods this preseason spanning two games, most recently getting two periods last Thursday in a 4-2 win over the Blue Jackets at Enterprise Center.

Greiss, signed to a one-year, $1.25 million contract after spending two years with the Detroit Red Wings, will play the entire game tonight and be backed up by Joel Hofer.

Greiss, 36, has faced 34 shots in three periods and stopped 32 shots, including 10-for-10 in one period of a 4-0 win at Dallas on Sept. 26 and 22 of 24 shots against the Blue Jackets.

"It's been alright," Greiss said if his camp. "There's always things to work on. A couple bad habits over the last couple of years we'll get rid of just to sharpen up the game again. It's a good time for that and that's what I'm working on.

"On a good team, everyone looks better. On a worse team, guys don't look as good. It's just the nature of the game."

Greiss certainly hopes he's on a good team again after spending the past two seasons languishing in Detroit, going 18-30-9. In his previous five seasons playing for a defensively structured team with the New York Islanders, Greiss went 101-60-17.

"I'm looking forward to it," Greiss said. "Everyone wants that success. That's what you play for. You play to win. You don't play just to cruise around out there. ... I think it helps every goalie. Makes your reads easier. Every goalie profits from stuff like that.

"It's a good group of guys, very friendly, a few guys I've played with before. It's always good to know a couple familiar faces (Nick Leddy with the Islanders and Robert Bortuzzo with the Pittsburgh Penguins)."

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The Blues are taking younger, more raw group to Columbus tonight than the one that played against the Blue Jackets last week, much like Columbus did on its trip to St. Louis.

The Blues will still feature Ryan O'Reilly, Jordan Kyrou, Jake Neighbours, Nathan Walker, Robert Bortuzzo and Klim Kostin among some of their regulars and hopefuls, but they called up five skaters from Springfield on Wednesday to fill up the roster.

So tonight's lineup will be filled with the likes of Nikita Alexandrov, Hugh McGing, Will Bitten, Mathias Laferriere, Matthew Kessel, Calle Rosen, Steven Santini, Tyler Tucker, Brady Lyle and possibly Martin Frk, who has been nursing a lower-body injury (more on him later).

"We've got some guys back up from 'Springy' to play the game tonight," Blues coach Craig Berube said. "It's good, we get to look at guys, evaluate young guys and guys that are battling for jobs.

"Who knows, right? I don't have a crystal ball on things. It's important to go out and compete hard tonight. Columbus is going to have a good lineup. It will be good competition for them."
The majority of the Blues varsity players practiced after the game group and put in a hard, thorough workout, with plenty of battle drills and the like.

"The battles are really important. We've got to keep doing that," Berube said. "Those games we did today are good competition games, 1-on-1, 2-on-2, things like that, get some fight for pucks and battling for pucks. That's a big part of the game. We want to try to get as much of that as we can in before the season.

"We've got to amp it all up. You've got to amp up the competition. That's the big thing. It's important that we're competitive at practice."

Vladimir Tarasenko (illness) practiced for the second straight day, as did Ivan Barbashev (lower-body injury) and Logan Brown (upper-body injury).

"They made it through practice today, so it was good to see," Berube said.

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The Blues' projected lineup:

Jake Neighbours-Ryan O'Reilly-Jordan Kyrou

Nathan Walker-Nikita Alexandrov-Josh Leivo

Klim Kostin-Hugh McGing-Will Bitten

Matthew Highmore-Mathias Laferriere-Martin Frk

Calle Rosen-Matthew Kessel

Steven Santini-Robert Bortuzzo

Tyler Tucker-Brady Lyle

Thomas Greiss will start in goal; Joel Hofer will be the backup.

* Forward Noel Acciari was a late addition to the game group and it's unclear who's spot he will take tonight. It could be Frk, whose wife is due to deliver the couple's child any day.

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The Blue Jackets' projected lineup:

Johnny Gaudreau-Boone Jenner-Patrik Laine

Yegor Chinakhov-Jack Roslovic-Jakub Voracek

Kent Johnson-Cole Sillinger-Justin Danforth

Mathieu Olivier-Sean Kuraly-Liam Foudy

Zach Werenski-Adam Boqvist

Vladislav Gavrikov-Andrew Peeke

Jake Bean-Erik Gudbranson

Danill Tarasov is projected to start in goal; Jet Greaves would be the backup.

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