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Round 1

Paul Stastny could play for Blues in Game 5

Center may return from foot injury to face Wild with St. Louis leading best-of-7 series 3-1

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Blues center Paul Stastny, who has a foot injury, could be available for Game 5 of the Western Conference First Round against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVA Sports).

The Blues lead the best-of-7 series 3-1.

Stastny has been sidelined since March 21, when he was hit by a shot from teammate Vladimir Tarasenko during a game against the Colorado Avalanche. Stastny has skated daily since Saturday and took part in his third practice Thursday.

"It feels good," he said. "I don't think I was going to go on the ice until I started feeling comfortable. Being off skates and doing different workouts and different exercises and then I got on the ice, for me, it was probably five days ago or six days ago.

"I felt way better than maybe we expected. I don't really have expectations. I just want to go out there day by day and that's how I've been treating it. The first couple skates, I tried to get the hands back, a little rusty, there was a lot going on. I think I was trying to think too much instead of skate, stickhandle and shoot. Every time I've been on the ice I've felt more and more comfortable."

Blues coach Mike Yeo would not commit to Stastny playing in Game 5 and said he remains day to day.

Video: ANA@STL: Stastny cuts across slot, finishes five-hole

"I think he's moving well, he's progressing," Yeo said. "I think what we will say is just let's get him through a real good practice [Friday] and see how that goes.

"I think first thing's first. Let's have a good practice [Friday] and evaluate whether he's going to be a player or not."

Stastny's return would boost a Blues offense that has scored seven goals in the series. They lost 2-0 in Game 4.

"I just think it's a tight series," Stastny said. "I feel like I've played [the Wild] a few times in my career and playoffs, and no matter what team they have, they have a bunch of two-way hockey players and it's a tight series. Sometimes you just need special teams to kind of get things going. Yesterday was 2-0, but every game's been 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1. You've just got to keep digging at it and keep battling."

The Blues are averaging 1.75 goals per game, a number that drops to 1.50 without the empty-net goal they scored in Game 3.

"First off, [the Wild] are defending very well, we're defending very well," Yeo said. "It's tight checking. It's good hockey right now. Certainly looking back and watching the video especially, not nearly enough net presence at their net right now. We're drifting away from their net so we have to do a better job of that. You look at [Wednesday], and again, we weren't good enough but we had probably four opportunities to shoot pucks that could be scoring chances or could lead to secondary opportunities and we're passing up those shots. So we have to do a better job of that as well."

Video: COL@STL: Tarasenko snipes a wrister past Pickard

Stastny, who had 40 points (18 goals, 22 assists) in 66 regular-season games, also would help the Blues' top line; Tarasenko has two assists but no goals. He led the Blues with 39 goals during the regular season.

"It's my body, so I think it's my call," Stastny said. "... Every skate's been encouraging. I just go from there. It's been frustrating I think to watch from outside, but I think it's been nice too because the boys are playing well, they're winning games early. I don't think anyone thought at the beginning of the series that this would be a sweep either way. We lose a game, we'll bounce back. Whatever happens, everyone will be ready for Saturday."

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