ANAHEIM, Calif. -- A healthy and rested St. Louis Blues team probably is not what the Anaheim Ducks want to face, but that's exactly what they’ll get Wednesday.
Jason Arnott will return from an undisclosed injury. David Backes did not skate Wednesday but appears to be fine after he took a shot in the foot last Saturday. Defenseman Kris Russell (concussion) did not skate Wednesday but coach Ken Hitchcock said he is getting closer.
This is a precarious time for Hitchcock, who must balance keeping his foot on the gas pedal while allowing his players to get some rest. He's opting for the former.
"I've said this before: Whatever you are in March … if you think you can dial it up in April when it counts, you're wrong, because you got holes in March and you got holes in April," Hitchcock said.
"I think we're a little bit afraid that if we stop this cycle, can we get it started again? … We've played good defensive hockey all year by managing the game, managing the puck properly. I think we've gotten away from managing the puck properly and played too much east-west, and that's hurt us. I think the last couple of games we got back playing the right way and it's really helped our game again. That's our focus: Just playing the game the right way."
Here's the lineup the Blues likely will put on the ice Wednesday:
David Perron - David Backes - T.J. Oshie
Jaden Schwartz - Patrik Berglund - Jamie Langenbrunner
Vladimir Sobotka - Jason Arnott - Chris Stewart
B.J. Crombeen - Scott Nichol - Chris Porter
Carlo Colaiacovo - Alex Pietrangelo
Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk
Kent Huskins - Roman Polak
Jaroslav Halak will start in goal, with Brian Elliott the backup.