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At the Rink: Hurricanes at Blues

by Louie Korac

ST. LOUIS -- Center Paul Stastny will be in the lineup for the St. Louis Blues when they host the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; FS-SE, FS-MW).

Stastny has missed two games with an upper-body injury sustained Jan. 8 against the Anaheim Ducks when he was struck on the left side of his face by a deflected puck. Stastny will wear a full face cage.

"A couple days ago it was a little fogginess, but [Wednesday], I felt good," Stastny said. "Every day's been better, which is what I think the doctors were explaining we were hoping for. Good to go."

The Blues (25-14-7) are in the midst of a four-game homestand.

"The next three are at home and we'll try and go from there," Stastny said. "We're finding ways to win and now we'll try and build on that."

The Hurricanes (19-18-7), who matched a season-high three-game winning streak, start a set of back-to-back games. They host the Vancouver Canucks on Friday and want to keep momentum on their side.

"You've got to keep up," coach Bill Peters said. "Everyone seems to win each and every night, so you've got to continue to play well and go on an extended streak. There's no better time to do that than right here and right now."

Goalie Eddie Lack will start for Carolina, and Cam Ward, who's won the past three games, will likely start Friday.

"He's been real good for us here recently and he needs to continue that trend," Peters said of Lack, who is 4-1-2 his past seven starts. "... We're playing a lot of hockey and we need both goaltenders going. [Ward's] been on a good run here, but this is a big opportunity for Eddie to come in and beat a good team on the road."

The Hurricanes have brought their dads on the trip. Players' fathers were there for the home game against Pittsburgh and will also accompany the team for their home game Friday.

"It's always awesome, something you look forward to all year," center Jay McClement said. "I know the dads look forward to it all year. It's nice for them to see what our lives are like on the road. We get to give them a little thanks for what they've done for us.

"Everybody wants to perform well in front of the dads. They want to celebrate a win just as much as everybody else."

Here are the projected lineups:


Kris Versteeg - Eric Staal - Elias Lindholm

Joakim Nordstrom - Jordan Staal - Andrej Nestrasil

Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Brock McGinn

Brad Malone - Jay McClement - Riley Nash

Ron Hainsey - Justin Faulk

John-Michael Liles - Brett Pesce

Noah Hanifin - Jaccob Slavin

Eddie Lack

Cam Ward

Injured: James Wisniewski (knee), Nathan Gerbe (ankle), Phillip Di Giuseppe (concussion)

Scratched: Chris Terry, Michal Jordan


Alexander Steen - Paul Stastny - Troy Brouwer

Robby Fabbri - Jori Lehtera - Vladimir Tarasenko

Scottie Upshall - David Backes - Patrik Berglund

Dmitrij Jaskin - Kyle Brodziak - Ryan Reaves

Kevin Shattenkirk - Alex Pietrangelo

Chris Butler - Colton Parayko

Joel Edmundson - Robert Bortuzzo

Brian Elliott

Jordan Binnington

Injured: Jaden Schwartz (ankle), Steve Ott (hamstring), Jay Bouwmeester (upper body), Jake Allen (lower body), Carl Gunnarsson (upper body), Magnus Paajarvi (upper body)

Scratched: Ty Rattie

Status report: Pesce, who missed practice Wednesday after sustaining a lower-body injury Tuesday at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins, will be paired with Liles. Pesce had been playing with Hanifin. ... Coach Ken Hitchcock said the Blues want to make sure Backes, who did not skate Thursday morning, is well enough to play before making any lineup decisions. Backes, who's nursing an upper-body injury, took a maintenance day but is expected to play. ... Gunnarsson, who is week-to-week with an upper-body injury, took part in the morning skate but will not play. It was his first time on the ice since sustaining the injury Jan. 9.

Who's hot: Lack is 5-0-0 with a 1.74 goals-against average and .935 save percentage against the Blues. Lindholm (two goals, four assists) and Versteeg (two goals, three assists) each have three-game point streaks. Jordan Staal has three goals and three assists the past four games. ... Pietrangelo is on a four-game point streak (one goal, three assists). Berglund has three goals and an assist the past four games. Lehtera has an assist in three of the past four games.

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