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At the Rink: Blues at Devils

by Mike G. Morreale

NEWARK, N.J. – St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen will make his first career start against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday.

Coach Ken Hitchcock confirmed the decision after the Blues' optional skate at Prudential Center. Additionally, the coach said that forward Dmitrij Jaskin would replace Magnus Paajarvi in the lineup.

The Blues won their fifth straight game Monday, a 4-3 shootout victory against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Brian Elliott earned the win with 36 saves.

Much of the focus after that triumph was on Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko, who scored a goal for the ages 7:17 into the first period on the power play. After receiving a pass from defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk in the neutral zone, Tarasenko skated past four penalty killers before beating goalie Cam Talbot with a one-handed shot just inside the right post.

Hitchcock was asked to reflect on the goal now that's he's had a chance to see it repeated over and over on countless media outlets.

"It was amazing," Hitchcock said. "For us it's good for him but also good for the game. It's something that, you wake up this morning and see it on all the major sports networks, so I think it's just exciting. When an exciting play in the game helps sell the game and when you see good young players do some of those things, it's just exciting."

Devils goalie Cory Schneider is expected to establish a career-high with his 12th straight start Tuesday. His previous high was 11 from March 9 through April 8, 2013 when he put together a 9-2-0 record. He improved to 6-3-2 this season following a 3-2 victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday, New Jersey's second straight win.

The game Tuesday is the first of a home-and-home series against the Blues and the first of a rigorous five-game stretch over eight days for the Devils that includes games in St. Louis on Thursday, Detroit on Friday, Boston on Monday and the Minnesota Wild on Nov. 11 in Newark. The Blues will begin a five-game homestand Thursday after facing the Devils on Tuesday.

The Devils lead the all-time series 27-23-7, including a 16-9-3 mark in the past 28 games played in New Jersey. The organization is holding its Hockey Fights Cancer Night on Tuesday to help raise awareness and funds to fight all forms of cancer.

Here are the projected lineups:

BLUES

Jaden Schwartz - David Backes - Joakim Lindstrom

Alexander Steen - Jori Lehtera - Vladimir Tarasenko

Steve Ott - Patrik BerglundDmitrij Jaskin

Chris Porter - Maxim Lapierre - Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo

Carl Gunnarsson - Kevin Shattenkirk

Barret Jackman - Ian Cole

Jake Allen

Brian Elliott

Scratched: Jordan Leopold, Magnus Paajarvi

Injured: T.J. Oshie (concussion), Paul Stastny (shoulder)

DEVILS

Dainius ZubrusTravis ZajacJaromir Jagr

Patrik EliasAdam HenriqueMichael Ryder

Ryane CloweJacob JosefsonDamien Brunner

Tuomo RuutuStephen GiontaSteve Bernier

Andy GreeneDamon Severson

Bryce SalvadorMarek Zidlicky

Jon MerrillAdam Larsson

Cory Schneider

Keith Kinkaid

Scratched: Eric Gelinas

Injured: Mike Cammalleri (jaw), Martin Havlat (lower body), Jordin Tootoo (foot)

Status report: Hitchcock said that Stastny is "days, not weeks" away from returning to the lineup, perhaps as early as Thursday when the Blues play the Devils at Scottrade Center. There is a chance that Devils coach Peter DeBoer will have Elias and Henrique on separate lines to open the game. The coach had each player working together on the same line during practice Monday. The Devils could opt to dress seven defensemen against the Blues. Gelinas has been a healthy scratch the past two games and Bernier was recalled from Albany on Monday. … Devils goalie Scott Clemmensen cleared waivers and was reassigned to Albany in the American Hockey League. Kinkaid will serve as backup to Schneider against the Blues. Tootoo took part in the optional skate with the Devils and said afterwards that he feels really good.

Who's hot: Tarasenko has six goals and eight points in his past four games and is responsible for six of the Blues' last 11 goals since Oct. 28. … Schneider has won three of his past four starts (3-1-0) with a 2.50 goals-against average and .906 save percentage. He has allowed six even-strength goals and four power-play goals over that stretch.

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