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At the Rink blog

Blues look to clinch playoff spot in Philadelphia

Saturday, 03.22.2014 / 12:08 PM

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor / 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

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2013-2014 At the Rink Blog
Blues look to clinch playoff spot in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA -- The St. Louis Blues will have their second chance to clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs when they play the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday.

The Blues can get in by picking up at least one point against the Flyers. They also can get in if the Ottawa Senators beat the Dallas Stars in any fashion or the Boston Bruins beat the Phoenix Coyotes in any fashion later Saturday.

Defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo, a healthy scratch the past five games, will return to the lineup Saturday for St. Louis. Colaiacovo's last played March 9, when he had a goal in 12:21 of ice time against the Minnesota Wild.

"I've liked his game," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "We've got to see if he can handle it endurance-wise. But one thing about Carlo, he really moves the puck and we're playing against teams that are hard on the forecheck -- these next two teams -- so we need people who can transition it quickly and we want to give him a go."

A good showing by Colaiacovo on Saturday could keep him in the lineup when the Blues visit the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, NHLN-CA).

Defenseman Jordan Leopold, who has been out since Feb. 8 with a sprained ankle, was set to return Monday but came down with the flu. He's with the team now, however, and available to play.

Ryan Miller will start in goal for the Blues. He's 7-1-1 with a 1.92 goals-against average and .923 save percentage in nine games with St. Louis, but has struggled the past few seasons in Philadelphia. In his four regular-season starts in Philadelphia dating to the 2011-12 season, he is 0-3-0 with a 3.44 goals-against average and .904 save percentage. He also allowed at least three goals in three of the four games he played in Philadelphia with the Buffalo Sabres during the first round of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Flyers likely will keep the same lineup they've used during their current four-game win streak. That means goaltender Steve Mason starting for the 10th time in 11 games since the end of the Olympic break.

In 15 games against the Blues in his career, Mason is 5-6-2 with a 2.82 goals-against avergae and .896 save percentage.

Here are the projected lineups for the Blues and Flyers:

BLUES

T.J. Oshie - Alexander Steen - David Backes

Jaden Schwartz - Vladimir Sobotka - Patrik Berglund

Magnus Paajarvi - Derek Roy - Steve Ott

Dmitrij Jaskin- Chris Porter - Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo

Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk

Carlo Colaiacovo - Roman Polak

Ryan Miller

Brian Elliott

Scratched: Jordan Leopold, Ian Cole, Brenden Morrow, Maxim Lapierre

Injured: Vladimir Tarasenko (hand)

FLYERS

Scott Hartnell - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek

Vincent Lecavalier - Brayden Schenn - Wayne Simmonds

Matt Read - Sean Couturier - Steve Downie

Zac Rinaldo - Michael Raffl - Adam Hall

Kimmo Timonen - Braydon Coburn

Mark Streit - Nicklas Grossmann

Andrew MacDonald - Luke Schenn

Steve Mason

Ray Emery

Scratched: Jay Rosehill, Erik Gustafsson, Hal Gill

Follow Adam Kimelman on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

Quote of the Day

For our team, as a group, we've never been this far before, and so it's just more lessons learned, and sometimes you have to go to the school of hard knocks to find out what works and what doesn't. We've got a young group. They've played some unreal hockey here to get us this far, and we showed if we're not going to play the proper way, a really, really good hockey team is going to beat you, and that's what they did. It's a lesson learned.

— Lightning coach Jon Cooper after Rangers win in Game 6 forced a Game 7 that will be played at Madison Square Garden on Friday