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Stanley Cup Final

Bortuzzo to play for Blues in Game 5 of Stanley Cup Final

Defenseman will replace Edmundson against Bruins

by Louie Korac / NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -- Robert Bortuzzo will replace defenseman Joel Edmundson in the lineup for the St. Louis Blues against the Boston Bruins in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).

"Very excited, as anyone would be," Bortuzzo said. "This is the Stanley Cup Final Game 5, we're playing in a storied building, so just happy to come in and hopefully contribute."

Bortuzzo, a healthy scratch in Game 4 when the Blues won 4-2 to even the best-of-7 series, has scored two goals in 15 games during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He was paired with Vince Dunn during practice Wednesday, and Edmundson skated as an extra with Michael Del Zotto.

 

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Edmundson played 7:24 in Game 4 and had two hits and two giveaways. He has seven points (one goal, six assists) in 21 playoff games.

"We've got a lot of good depth back there," Blues coach Craig Berube said Thursday. "We like to use our guys quite a bit. We took [Bortuzzo] out and put [Dunn] in and when we looked at that with [Dunn] we weren't sure him coming in first game, so we kept another lefty in there. But I thought he had a real good game, [Dunn], and if we can have a righty-lefty combo it's nice. So we'll put [Bortuzzo] back in."

The Blues have eight healthy defensemen, and seven have played in the postseason (Del Zotto has been scratched throughout the playoffs). Bortuzzo scored in a 3-2 overtime win in Game 2 and played 9:39 in Game 3, but he was scratched when Dunn returned from an upper-body injury that caused him to miss six games.

"It keeps guys fresh, but within games too, it's interchangeable," Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. "It gives us a break when guys are out there for special teams. It's just chemistry, camaraderie, reading off each other, having been together for a while. It definitely makes things easier too. We do it up front more often than people realize and keeping guys fresh throughout a game. Everybody wants to be in this situation. Everybody wants to be playing."

Video: STL@BOS, Gm2: Bortuzzo's shot deflects by Rask

Bortuzzo was asked if it helps to have depth and players entering the lineup with fresh legs.

"It's hard to say," Bortuzzo said. "There's been different circumstances for different things. At the end of the day, I don't think it's anything to do with legs or whatnot. It's just you're going to get in there, you're going to be excited to play, you're going to be fresh regardless of what's going on. So there's been different instances for guys going in and out, but just excited for the opportunity."

Forward Robert Thomas (undisclosed) is expected to be out for a fourth straight game. Thomas was injured in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final against the San Jose Sharks and has not played since Game 1 of the Cup Final after a hard hit from Bruins defenseman Torey Krug.

NHL.com staff writer Tom Gulitti contributed to this story.

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