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Blues' Backes improving, but won't face Wild

by Dan Myers

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- St. Louis Blues captain David Backes will miss his second consecutive game Tuesday when the Blues play the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center.

A native of Minneapolis who played college hockey 90 minutes south of the Twin Cities at Minnesota State, Backes missed two games earlier this month with a concussion. He was injured Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks, missing a portion of the third period in a game the Blues won 5-4 in a shootout. The two injuries are not believed to be related.

Backes will miss his fourth game of the season Tuesday after missing only three games in his previous six seasons. He skated at the Blues' practice Monday and again Tuesday during their morning skate, but coach Ken Hitchcock said he will give him more time.

"Not going to play tonight, not ready to go," Hitchcock said. "He's feeling better and better, but he's not able to play. We're just not prepared to risk it right now."

As far as other forwards, Hitchcock said he couldn't commit to a lineup Tuesday morning. He said the flu has been running through the locker room, one of the reasons why Brian Elliott will start in goal. Jaroslav Halak is feeling well enough to back up Elliott, however.

"We gotta take it into the game, we'll give you 12 forwards tonight, I can't tell you who they're going to be," Hitchcock said. "When you have the flu bug going through you, you have it going through you and you just have to deal with it."

Minnesota will have the services of defenseman Jared Spurgeon on Tuesday after he missed practice Monday with an undisclosed injury. Spurgeon has been banged up of late and the Wild called up defenseman Jonathon Blum from Des Moines of the American Hockey League on Monday in case Spurgeon couldn't go.

Here are the projected lineups for the Blues and Wild:


Jaden Schwartz - Derek Roy - T.J. Oshie

Brenden Morrow - Maxim Lapierre - Chris Stewart

Magnus Paajarvi - Patrik Berglund - Vladimir Tarasenko

Chris Porter - Vladimir Sobotka - Dmitrij Jaskin

Alex Pietrangelo - Jay Bouwmeester

Kevin Shattenkirk - Barret Jackman

Ian Cole - Carlo Colaiacovo

Brian Elliott

Jaroslav Halak

Scratched: Adam Cracknell

Injured: David Backes (upper body), Jordan Leopold (hand), Roman Polak (ankle), Ryan Reaves (hand), Alex Steen (concussion)


Nino Niederreiter - Mikko Koivu - Charlie Coyle

Dany Heatley - Mikael Granlund - Jason Pominville

Matt Cooke - Kyle Brodziak - Justin Fontaine

Mike Rupp - Torrey Mitchell - Stephane Veilleux

Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin

Marco Scandella - Jared Spurgeon

Keith Ballard - Nate Prosser

Josh Harding

Niklas Backstrom

Scratched: Jonathon Blum, Zenon Konopka

Injured: Zach Parise (lower body), Clayton Stoner (lower body)

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