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Blues ready to get into flow of series against Wild

by Louie Korac /

ST. LOUIS -- Now that the St. Louis Blues have a game under their belts in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the players believe they'll be able to get more into the flow of their Western Conference First Round series against the Minnesota Wild when they play Game 2 Saturday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports 2).

"We've got one game out of the way," said Blues goalie Jake Allen, who made 25 saves Thursday and will start Game 2. "Wasn't our best. Only can get better from here really. Come back to work [today]. We played well at certain times [Thursday]. Once we get a complete game in there I think the result will be better. We know what to do, we know what to expect now. A good afternoon test."

The Blues were able to string some quality play together in the third period when they scored their goals in the 4-2 loss in Game 1 Thursday. It was evident the first 40 minutes, especially the second period in which they were outshot 14-4, things were not clicking by any stretch.

"I don't know if there is such a thing as too much time off at this time of year," right wing T.J. Oshie said. "A couple guys hadn't played in seven days or so, so that might have been a little bit of a factor. Other than that, everyone was ready to go."

While teams tend to relish days off between games because of the grind of the schedule, the Blues are 1-7-1 during the regular season and playoffs with three or more days rest this season; there were four days between their regular-season finale April 11 and Game 1 against the Wild.

Coach Ken Hitchcock said the time off is not an excuse and each team had to deal with it.

"I don't want to get into that. Everybody has rust," Hitchcock said. "We had the same amount of days off. One team practiced a little bit more than the other team, one team practiced a little bit longer than the other team. We all had our ice sessions, we all followed our routines. I think that's a little bit of a weak excuse for this time of year.

"One of the problems that we've had all year was the fact that off of an extended layoff we haven't come out breathing fire like we normally do."

Here are the projected lineups:


Jason Zucker - Mikko Koivu - Chris Stewart

Zach Parise - Mikael Granlund - Jason Pominville

Thomas Vanek - Charlie Coyle - Nino Niederreiter

Sean Bergenheim - Kyle Brodziak - Justin Fontaine

Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin

Marco Scandella - Jared Spurgeon

Jordan Leopold - Matt Dumba

Devan Dubnyk

Niklas Backstrom

Scratched: Ryan Carter, Erik Haula, Jordan Schroeder, Christian Folin, Nate Prosser, Darcy Kuemper

Injured: Keith Ballard (concussion), Matt Cooke (undisclosed)


Dmitrij Jaskin - David Backes - T.J. Oshie

Alexander Steen - Jori Lehtera - Vladimir Tarasenko

Jaden Schwartz - Paul Stastny - Patrik Berglund

Steve Ott - Marcel Goc - Ryan Reaves

Carl Gunnarsson - Alex Pietrangelo

Jay Bouwmeester - Zbynek Michalek

Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk

Jake Allen

Brian Elliott

Scratched: Olli Jokinen, Chris Porter, Chris Butler, Robert Bortuzzo, Ty Rattie, Niklas Lundstrom

Injured: None

Status report: Hitchcock will not make any lineup changes but did flip Oshie and Berglund in the lineup.

Who's hot: Shattenkirk had two assists in Game 1. ... Steen scored his second NHL playoff shorthanded goal in the past three seasons in Game 1.

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