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At the Rink: Ducks at Blues

by Louie Korac

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues will be missing two of their top-line forwards Thursday when they host the Anaheim Ducks.

Center David Backes and right wing T.J. Oshie, who were injured Tuesday in a 4-3 overtime victory against the Dallas Stars, have been diagnosed with concussions.

Backes was injured with 4:49 remaining in the first period after a collision with Stars defenseman Trevor Daley. The left side of his head Backes' head hit the ice as he went down and he needed assistance to get off the ice. He did not return to action and did not practice Wednesday.

Oshie also was injured against the Stars in the second period, when he crashed into the Dallas goal after being shoved from behind in the slot in the second period. He finished the game but did not practice Wednesday.

"Backes is concussed, out. Oshie's concussed, out," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said following the morning skate. "Oshie has something else going on plus the concussion so we're not sure whether it's the bacterial [infection]." Hitchcock was referring to the rash of bacterial infections that have plagued the team in recent weeks.

Right wing Joakim Lindstrom, who did practice Wednesday, was not part of the morning skate but Hitchcock didn't completely rule him out Thursday.

"Lindstrom's bacterial and out right now," said Hitchcock.

Center Paul Stastny (shoulder) is, "out, not ready," according to Hitchcock, although Stastny is close to returning. He's missed four games since being hurt Oct. 18 against the Arizona Coyotes.

"Some seasons are smooth and some seasons are scrambles," Hitchcock said. "We're in scramble mode. Nobody's feeling sorry for us; we've got to get points. We've just got to keep pace with everybody until we get a lot of these players back in.

"We can't get too far away from the pack. That's what's impressive. The last two wins, we had a lot of banged-up guys with a lot of sickness still rolling through the team. But we still got wins. We have another big game [Thursday]."

Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said the Blues will be OK even without Oshie and Backes.

"We just have to have other guys step up," Shattenkirk said. "That's the way we're built. We're deep. We have guys who can do it. They're going to be tough losses. They're hard to fill those voids. But we should be fine with what we have on the back-burner.

"We did a great job on Tuesday night. We didn't have the greatest second period but we came back in the third and established our game again and were able to win a gritty game on the road against a divisional opponent."

Here are the projected lineups:


Matt Beleskey - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry

Dany Heatley - Ryan Kesler - Devante Smith-Pelly

Andrew Cogliano - Nate Thompson - Jakob Silfverberg

Emerson Etem - Rickard Rakell - Tim Jackman

Cam Fowler - Clayton Stoner

Hampus Lindholm - Francois Beauchemin

Mark Fistric - Sami Vatanen

John Gibson

Frederik Andersen

Scratched: William Karlsson, Chris Wagner, Josh Manson

Injured: Ben Lovejoy (finger), Bryan Allen (lower body), Kyle Palmieri (ankle), Patrick Maroon (knee)


Alexander Steen - Jori Lehtera - Vladimir Tarasenko

Jaden Schwartz - Patrik Berglund - Joakim Lindstrom

Dmitrij Jaskin - Steve Ott - Magnus Paajarvi

Chris Porter - Maxim Lapierre - Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo

Carl Gunnarsson - Kevin Shattenkirk

Ian Cole - Barret Jackman

Jake Allen

Brian Elliott

Scratched: Jordan Leopold

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

Status report: As of early Thursday afternoon the Blues had not made any recalls from the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League. If Lindstrom can't play the Blues will go with 11 forwards and play Leopold as a seventh defenseman. … Gunnarsson will play with Shattenkirk on Thursday after playing with Jackman on Tuesday. Cole will play in the third defensive pairing with Jackman. … Porter and Paajarvi will get back into the lineup after being healthy scratches Tuesday and Ott moves to center. … The Ducks moved Beleskey to their top line. Heatley, who made his season debut Tuesday, goes to the second line.

Who's hot: Tarasenko and Lehtera combined for seven points Tuesday against the Stars. … Smith-Pelly has points in five of the past seven games. … Getzlaf has 27 points in 30 games against the Blues. … Pietrangelo has 11 assists in 15 games against the Ducks.

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