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Backes ruled out for St. Louis in Game 3

by Louie Korac

CHICAGO -- St. Louis Blues captain David Backes (upper body) will not play in Game 3 of their Western Conference First Round series against the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night (8:30 p.m. ET; CNBC, CBC, RDSI, FS-MW, CSN-CH).

Backes, who was the recipient of a hard hit from Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook at the 15:09 mark of the third period in Game 2 on Saturday, did not take the ice Sunday and was not on the ice for the Blues' morning skate.

"He's out, won't play today," said Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, who would not elaborate further on Backes' condition. "He's our No. 1 center, he plays the most minutes on the hockey club, he plays in every situation. It has to be shared. Not one person's going to be able to take the slot. We don't have that.

"We don't have somebody that can come in and say, 'OK, you've got to take his minutes.' Somebody's going to have to do extra work killing penalties, other people have got to be added, we're going to have to do a better job on faceoffs, other people are going to have to step up and take faceoffs, especially on the right side. There's like anything else: What would Chicago be like with losing [Jonathan] Toews? For us, Backes is Toews."

"It's going to be a tough loss for us to lose Dave," Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. "But they lost a pretty key player as well [Seabrook]. We've got to take advantage of that.

"We all have to [assume leadership] collectively. One guy can't try and step up and try to be the captain for this team. We all have to lead each other. It really just comes from playing the right way, keeping our emotions in check and playing a really solid team game."

The Blues will get Patrik Berglund (upper body) back in the lineup. Berglund has missed three games after sustaining an injury in the final road game of the regular season against the Dallas Stars.

"It's a big hole [filling Backes' spot], but I think we're more equipped with Berglund in our lineup," Hitchcock said. "We're more equipped to handle this than we would have been without 'Bergie' here."

Berglund has practiced three times in the past four days with limited contact, though Hitchcock brushed off such talk.

"First of all, assuming that he hasn't had a lot of contact ... we've been beating him around the boards for a week now," Hitchcock said. "He's been running into every coach and every alumni we could find. He's been beat around as hard ... he hasn't participated maybe in full practices.

"We really only have had one that he wasn't around for. He's been declared fit to play. I don't think there's going to be an issue there. If he can just get his shifts and get his feet wet ... we're going to play him with Brenden [Morrow]. The lines you saw today are the lines we're going to start the game with. If we can play him with Brenden and [Ryan Reaves], they play well on the road together. Hopefully we can build some good minutes with the line and get them more comfortable as the game goes along and as the series goes on."

Morrow, who was scratched in Game 2, had been nursing a foot injury sustained April 10 before facing the Minnesota Wild. He played in Game 1 and will return Monday night.

"It's kind of a numbers game right now," Morrow said. "We've got a lot of guys that are getting healthy at the right time. Coach's decisions now."

Here is the Blues' projected lineup:

Steve Ott - Alexander Steen - T.J. Oshie

Jaden Schwartz - Vladimir Sobotka - Vladimir Tarasenko

Brenden Morrow - Patrik Berglund - Ryan Reaves

Chris Porter - Maxim Lapierre - Adam Cracknell

Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo

Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk

Jordan Leopold - Roman Polak

Ryan Miller

Brian Elliott

Scratched: Ian Cole, Carlo Colaiacovo, Derek Roy, Magnus Paajarvi, Dmitrij Jaskin, Niklas Lundstrom

Injured: David Backes (upper body)

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