ST. LOUIS - With Paul Stastny expected to be sidelined at least a week with a lower-body injury from Tuesday's 4-2 win against Colorado, Alexander Steen will take his place at center beginning with tonight's 7 p.m. game against the Vancouver Canucks (FSMW, KMOX).
"It's obviously tough," Steen said about losing Stastny. "Collectively, again, we're going to have to dig deep and make up for the loss on Stastny. Obviously (his) face-offs are a huge part, his hockey sense and his presence in the room. It's a big loss."
With Stastny out, Steen will take his center duties on the top line with Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko. Steen has played some center, including earlier this season when Stastny was out with a different injury.
"It doesn't change much, maybe a little more defensive," Steen said. "Just create as much space and time as I can for (my linemates), give them as many scoring chances as I can."
While teams never want to lose players to injury, sometimes an injury creates opportunities for other players. Tonight, that's Zach Sanford, who will move up to the second line tonight with Patrik Berglund and David Perron.
Since being acquired in a trade with the Washington Capitals, Sanford has posted one goal and two assists in four appearances with the Blues, which includes a two-assist performance in Tuesday's 4-2 win in Colorado.
Video: Blues prepare to play without Stastny
"I'm pretty excited," Sanford said of the promotion. "We had a decent amount of shifts together last game (after Stastny was hurt) and I thought we played well. I'm excited to see what we can do tonight."
"You see a little bit of almost a moxie I would say," Blues Head Coach Mike Yeo said of Sanford. "Just the confidence he's playing with, the poise he's playing with… He's showing he's not a high-risk player but at the same time, he's got some skill and some hockey sense and the ability to create.
"He deserves to (move up)," Yeo added. "It doesn't mean we'll stay like that, but he's certainly earned that opportunity today."
Nail Yakupov will enter the lineup on the third line with Magnus Paajarvi and Ivan Barbashev. Below is the rest of the projected lineup for tonight's game against Vancouver.
Jaden Schwartz - Alexander Steen - Vladimir Tarasenko
Zach Sanford - Patrik Berglund - David Perron
Magnus Paajarvi - Ivan Barbashev - Nail Yakupov
Scottie Upshall - Kyle Brodziak - Ryan Reaves
Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo
Joel Edmundson - Colton Parayko
Carl Gunnarsson - Robert Bortuzzo