The Blues regained one of their three injured defenders for Game 3, which in their current predicament, is enough to qualify as good news.
Marco Scandella, who has missed three games with a lower-body injury, returned to the lineup on Friday night and played alongside Colton Parayko, while Nick Leddy and Robert Bortuzzo left the lineup. It was the second game for Leddy and the first for Bortuzzo, who got a punch in the face in Game 2 of the series.
Scandella is the only one of the three-figure skating to practice, so she is always the most likely to return. On Friday’s morning skates, he didn’t take part in the rush, with Steven Santini’s emergency call in his place, but Scandella didn’t sit still at the end of practice, as is usually the case. Coach Craig Berube called it “a possibility.”
“You work all year to get to this point, to get to the playoffs, earn a spot in the playoffs — and to not be a part of that, obviously, it’s not easy,” Scandella said. “It’s tough to watch. Being up there (in the press box), supporting the boys, I feel like you’re more nervous not (being) in the games. So I’m pretty excited about getting back.”
With only six defensemen suiting up, Calle Rosen and Scott Perunovich were healthy scratches. Perunovich has been good on the power play but made a costly mistake on defense going for a steal that led to a Colorado goal Monday.
Without Perunovich, Faulk moved up from the second power-play unit to quarterback the first group. Colton Parayko hadn’t seen a ton of time on the power play this season, but he ran the point on the second unit.
Berube on Kadri
Before he answered any hockey questions following the Blues’ morning skate Wednesday, coach Craig Berube wanted to set the record straight on his “no comment” involving threats and racial slurs made against Colorado forward Nazem Kadri.
“I’m not on social media,” Berube said. “I was aware of a threat made to Nazem. Not the racist stuff. And in no way is it acceptable by the St. Louis Blues or anybody else for him to have to go through that.
“Being a Native American myself, I’ve heard it all. I’ve been around it. It’s not a good thing. So I just wanted to get that out there that there’s no room for it anywhere. And that’s it.”
Asked about the threats to Kadri, Berube issued a “no comment” before Monday’s Game 4 and was criticized by some for not saying something.
Kadri instigated a collision in Game 3 that resulted in an apparent knee injury to Blues goalie Jordan Binnington.
Emotions ran high entering Game 4, in which Kadri scored a hat trick in an emphatic 6-3 victory for the Avalanche.
Early in Game 4, Schenn circled Kadri looking for a fight. But Kadri wouldn’t take the bait. And in the second period, David Perron drew a two-minute penalty for cross-checking that resulted in a five-on-three power play for Colorado —setting up the Avs’ fourth goal of the game.
Perron later said he was just trying to spark some energy in his team.
“I don’t really think that going into the game our guys were overly concerned with getting redemption on him,” Berube said. “I know Schenn tried to fight him early on in the game and I thought it was over, then Perron and (Kadri) mix it up, they kind of went at it a little bit.
“We ended up on the wrong side of it for sure, but I think that going into it, our focus was on winning the hockey game. We didn’t play very well. I mean, that’s a very good team over there, they have a lot of good players.”
Back to 12/6
For the first time since Game 3 of their first-round series with Minnesota, the Blues went with a 12-forward, six-defensemen lineup. The change meant they had a full fourth line Wednesday with Nathan Walker joining Alexei Toropchenko and Tyler Bozak.
It had been just Toropchenko and Bozak on the fourth line for the past seven games under the 11-forward/seven-defensemen alignment, with a member of the top three lines rotating onto the fourth line.
Berube also made changes to the top three lines, returning Brandon Saad to the Ryan O’Reilly-David Perron line and placing Schenn at the center of a line with wingers Ivan Barbashev and Jordan Kyrou.
But most importantly, he reunited what was one of the league’s hottest lines down the stretch of the reg
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