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Blues insert Cole back in lineup, look at Arnott

by Curtis Zupke

LOS ANGELES -- St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock knows full well what's in store when he plays the Los Angeles Kings: a lot of big bodies flying around.

That's largely why Hitchcock will insert Ian Cole back on defense when St. Louis plays L.A. on Tuesday night. The 6-foot-1, 219-pound Cole will be needed against some of the Kings' big forwards such as Jeff Carter and Dustin Brown.

"The opponent dictates that," Hitchcock said. "They've got a big lineup and Ian's played OK against them. ... I think just from getting bounced around standpoint, when you play L.A. you're going to get bounced around. You've just got to fight through it.

"They're a big team, but they're a big, smart team. I mean, there's a difference. There's lots of big teams in the League, but they're a big, smart team, which I think makes a big difference."

Cole will come in for Wade Redden and play with Kevin Shattenkirk in the third defensive pairing.

"He gives us some size, and also him and [Shattenkirk] have played together a lot, especially in previous competition, in junior and stuff like that," Hitchcock said. "They've got a good, familiar ground with each other. Hopefully it will be a good pair."

The Blues are trying to end a six-game losing streak against the Kings, including a sweep in the Western Conference Semifinals. A common thread is that L.A. has averaged 5.2 power plays a game against St. Louis in that span.

"We're confident in our PK to get the job done, but giving a team that skilled five or six power plays a game, it's only a matter of time before they make a play," Blues forward Chris Stewart said.

This will be the Blues' first appearance at Staples Center since they were swept.

"No love lost, that's for sure," Stewart said. "We remember getting swept out here in their arena. They sent us packing last year. We've been kind of struggling this year, up and down. I think it's time to make a statement and this is the perfect team to do it against."

Blues looking at Arnott: With forwards Alex Steen, Vladimir Tarasenko and Andy McDonald shelved with injuries, St. Louis reportedly is taking a look at bringing back Jason Arnott.

"In this kind of thing, if we can get 15 to 20 good games out of him, that would be great," Hitchcock said. "I think everybody sees that there's a significant dropout when you're missing your three top scorers. How would L.A. look with Brown, Carter and [Mike] Richards sitting on the shelf? Not too good. We're in that position. We don't know when these guys are going to be back."

Arnott reportedly has been working out, and Hitchcock said there's no drop off in speed but "the area for us is the battle drills. What's the strength like in his shoulder? If he's strong in the shoulder and he feels OK after going through some of these battle things he's doing, then there's no reason he can't help us."


Jaden SchwartzDavid BackesT.J. Oshie

David PerronPatrik BerglundChris Stewart

Chris PorterVladimir SobotkaMatt D'Agostini

Adam CracknellScott NicholRyan Reaves

Barret JackmanAlex Pietrangelo

Kris RussellRoman Polak

Ian ColeKevin Shattenkirk

Jaroslav Halak

Brian Elliott

Scratched: Wade Redden, Andrew Murray

Injured: Andy McDonald (knee), Alex Steen (shoulder), Vladimir Tarasenko (concussion)

Halak was first off the ice. He is 4-2 with a 1.60 goals-against average and two shutouts in six meetings against L.A. since he arrived in St. Louis.


Dustin BrownAnze KopitarJustin Williams

Dustin PennerMike RichardsJeff Carter

Dwight KingJarret StollTrevor Lewis

Kyle CliffordColin FraserJordan Nolan

Jake MuzzinDrew Doughty

Rob ScuderiSlava Voynov

Alec MartinezKeaton Ellerby

Jonathan Bernier

Jonathan Quick

Scratched: Davis Drewiske, Brad Richardson

Injured: Matt Greene (back), Willie Mitchell (knee)

The Kings had an optional skate at their practice facility, and Quick reportedly stayed out with the extras, meaning it's likely Bernier will get his second start in as many nights.

Kings coach Darryl Sutter on Monday put Penner back up on the second line with Richards and Carter while Lewis went back to the third line -- the lineup that L.A. used during the last half of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season.

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