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Blues defenseman Pietrangelo out vs. Jets

Kevin Shattenkirk, Colton Parayko will try to fill the void

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

JETS (23-26-3) at BLUES (30-17-8)


ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues have spent the entire season managing on the fly because of injuries to key players.

The injury to top defenseman Alex Pietrangelo will be more of a challenge beginning against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday.

Pietrangelo, who sustained a right knee injury against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday, will be re-evaluated in three weeks. 

He was averaging 26:40 ice time per game, which is fourth in the NHL, and getting players to step in and fill the minutes and roles that Pietrangelo leaves behind will be a tall order. 

"We aren't 100 percent on this one because it involves special teams, but we think we'll have something that will work," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "You get situations like this, it's not a Rembrandt at the end of the night; it's about wins. Winnipeg's going to be a hell of a test for us. That'll give us a good indication of what elements we need to adjust even from here." 

Players including Kevin Shattenkirk, who will move up and play alongside Jay Bouwmeester as Pietrangelo's partner, and rookie Colton Parayko will absorb more responsibilities. 

"Obviously, there's going to be a lot more falling on my shoulders now," Shattenkirk said. "... I think more than anything, I just have to be ready to play more minutes, keep my body fresh and be ready to get out there in a few more situations. 

"You have to look at every game as an opportunity to grow your game. This is obviously a chance for me to kind of assume that role and just make it seem like it was a seamless transition while he's getting better. Until Alex gets back, I think that's my focus, to really make it seem like we didn't really lose that big of a hole. We don't want it to be that big of a hole. That's the job for the rest of us now to fill it in as quickly as possible." 

Said Parayko: "Losing a guy like [Pietrangelo's] huge. I think as a group, we're just going to have to come together. Obviously it's going to be tough to pull the weight that he does, but we have a very strong 'D' corps here and I think we can come together and do that. 

"I want to come in and prepare myself the same way as any other game. I just want to come and play my best and give the team the best opportunity to win. I'm not going to change too much. Obviously just be ready for anything that might come my way and be prepared." 

The Jets, who have lost all three games against St. Louis this season, have to adjust without leading goal scorer Drew Stafford, who was suspended for one game by the NHL Department of Player Safety for a high-stick infraction against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday. 

Alexander Burmistrov will step in and play in place of Stafford (16 goals) because coach Paul Maurice wants to keep the line of Andrew Ladd, Adam Lowry and Joel Armia together. 

"Give [Burmistrov] a chance to get out in a different kind of role with different players," Maurice said. "It's also a function of I really like Joel's game. Sometimes it's not about the individual, but there would seem to be a good feed-off factor with all three of those guys, with Adam and with Andrew. We left that line alone and sometimes, the simplest move is the best." 

Here are the projected lineups: 


Nikolaj Ehlers - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler  

Mathieu Perreault - Mark Scheifele - Alexander Burmistrov 

Andrew Ladd - Adam Lowry - Joel Armia 

Chris Thorburn - Andrew Copp - Anthony Peluso  

Toby Enstrom - Dustin Byfuglien  

Ben Chiarot - Tyler Myers  

Mark Stuart - Jacob Trouba  

Connor Hellebuyck  

Michael Hutchinson  

Injured: Ondrej Pavelec (knee), Grant Clitsome (back) 

Scratched: Drew Stafford, Adam Pardy, Paul Postma  


Patrik Berglund - Paul Stastny - Vladimir Tarasenko  

Scottie Upshall - Alexander Steen - David Backes  

Robby Fabbri - Jori Lehtera - Troy Brouwer  

Magnus Paajarvi - Kyle Brodziak - Ryan Reaves  

Jay Bouwmeester - Kevin Shattenkirk 

Carl Gunnarsson - Colton Parayko 
Joel Edmundson - Robert Bortuzzo  

Brian Elliott  

Pheonix Copley  

Injured: Alex Pietrangelo (knee), Jaden Schwartz (ankle), Jake Allen (knee), Steve Ott (hamstring) 

Scratched: Dmitrij Jaskin  

Status report: Reaves returns to the lineup for the Blues after being a healthy scratch the past four games. ... Pavelec, who has been out since Nov. 21, has been skating with the team and Maurice said he's close to returning. 

Who's hot: Tarasenko has seven points (four goals, three assists) against the Jets this season. "I'm not sure there's a simple solution to [stopping him]," Maurice said. ... Ladd has a goal in three straight games.

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