HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- The St. Louis Blues will have to march forward without another impact player in their lineup after the team announced Monday that defenseman Alex Pietrangelo will miss three weeks because of a right knee injury.
Pietrangelo was placed on injured reserve Monday. The injury occurred late in the third period of a 4-1 victory against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday. Pietrangelo appeared to collide knee-on-knee with Wild forward Charlie Coyle with 7:20 remaining. He was down on the ice before skating off on his own and did not return.
Prior to the injury, Pietrangelo had missed seven games in five full NHL seasons.
Pietrangelo, 26, played in all 55 games this season, one of five players to do so. He has three goals and 20 assists, and is fourth in the League with an average ice time of 26:40 per game.
The Blues moved forward when they hit the ice for practice Monday at Ice Zone inside St. Louis Outlet Mall.
"We've dealt with [injuries] all year. We're used to it," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "I don't want to say we're numb to it. But we've done a hell of a job in dealing with injuries to significant players, and this is another one that we'll adjust and keep going. There's not much you can do about it right now. The big thing for us is just mentally move forward as quick as you can. I think the experience of having gone through this with other players helps us in this one because our guys were good in practice today. They've already moved on and we were able to practice today with some of the adjustments that we're going to make offensively, defensively, pairs and everything. Now it's time to play."
Replacing Pietrangelo will be a challenge because he plays in all situations.
Video: Blues react to Pietrangelo injury
"Anyone of that stature that plays that much, that plays in all different situations, yeah, you're going to miss them," said defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, Pietrangelo's partner. "But it's opportunities for other guys. All year we've dealt with injuries to a lot of different guys. Hopefully he gets back soon and hopefully that's the end of it.
"He plays the most out of anybody; no one's going to replace that. As a group you spread it around. One guy doesn't come in and replace that; you do it as a group. We have depth here. You look at it as an opportunity for someone to get in the lineup. Every time that that's happened someone seems to go with it."
For the Blues, who are in the top 10 in the League in man-games lost, according to mangameslost.com, they added Pietrangelo to an injured list that currently includes goaltender Jake Allen (knee), forward Jaden Schwartz (fractured ankle) and forward Steve Ott (hamstring). Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (groin), forward Paul Stastny (broken foot) and forward Patrik Berglund (shoulder) have also missed significant time because of injuries this season.
"It's tough. But mentally you have to work through that," said Shattenkirk, who will take Pietrangelo's spot alongside Bouwmeester. "I think the way we've handled it this year and the way we've adjusted, we've kind of just rolled with the punches and it shows a lot about our team. Who knows when we'll get a full lineup back; hopefully someday. But until then everyone's playing different roles and really well when they're asked to do a little bit more."
Said Hitchcock: "We don't need all of the sudden for somebody to take a big step up. What we need is 10 percent across the board. We don't need 50 percent from some player; we need 10 percent from everybody. Ten percent more responsibility, 10 percent more ice, 10 percent a little bit change in your role. We'll be able to absorb this. This isn't forever. It's not like a three-month injury or anything like that. This is something that if we have the right attitude, we think we can handle this."
Video: STL@LAK: Pietrangelo goes top-shelf to beat Quick
Defenseman Robert Bortuzzo, a frequent healthy scratch this season, will move into a top-six role.
"Guys are going to have to step up and eat some of those minutes, those big penalty-killing minutes he's a part of," Bortuzzo said of Pietrangelo. "Some guys' minutes are going to rise and we're going to eat them up as a group. It's going to be an exciting challenge for us. I'm sure everyone's looking forward to it.
"It's not easy. I want to be in there every night obviously. But at the end of the day we want to do anything we can to help this team win games. You never want an injury to get you in there but sometimes there's circumstances. You're looking forward for this opportunity to prove that you want to be in there every night, to show you can be in there every night. I'm looking forward to it."
General manager Doug Armstrong will have to evaluate if the Blues need to look outside the organization to add defensive depth ahead of the Feb. 29 NHL Trade Deadline.
The players understand the onus falls on them.
"We obviously have some young guys and some young talent that has progressed and really kind of grown up early, for a lack of a better term," Shattenkirk said. "We've just handled it well. We really have just found ways to get points. And the guys who have to step up, they're trying not to play too much out of their comfort zone. They're just doing a little bit extra but they're not all of the sudden asked to become NHL superstars. We know that we win as a team and that's when we're most successful, when we play together. From there, that's where we grow.
"It's going to fall right down through the ranks. There's plenty of guys to step into that. It's tough; it's a big loss, there's no doubt about it. He's someone who plays every position, plays everywhere on the ice, every situation. We've just got to be ready for all six of us now to step up and play well together."