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Blues frustrated by Steen injury; Sharks make trade

Polak, Spaling arrive from Toronto but won't face St. Louis

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

SHARKS (31-21-5) at BLUES (35-17-9) 

TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, SNO, SNW, SNP 

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues will be missing another key piece because of injury entering their game against the San Jose Sharks on Monday.

When news of Alexander Steen came Sunday that he would be re-evaluated in four weeks because of an upper-body injury sustained against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday, it's as if the Blues are immune to someone being sidelined. 

St. Louis has lost 216 man games this season, and is also missing defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (knee) and forward Steve Ott (hamstring). Goalie Jake Allen was activated from injured reserve Sunday after missing 17 games with a lower-body injury. 

"This late time of year, it's about who's in and not who's out," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We'll sort it out through the game, see what works. We've got two days to figure it out, what way we want to move forward with it. We've been through it all year, so this isn't surprising. It's too late in the year to be concerned about that. We've just got to find a way to reorganize ourselves. All our top guys have gone missing most of the year and we've been able to maintain a competitive level, and this is just another challenge that way." 

The Blues have won a season-high five straight games and are 6-0-1 in their past seven, but players are getting frustrated. 

"We've had some tough timing. You get one guy back and one guy's out," right wing Troy Brouwer said. "It's getting to the point where it [stinks]. Enough is enough. We're trying to stay healthy as much as possible. We've had some bad injuries, some tough timing on injuries, but we've doing a great job of battling through it and making sure we have guys in place that can fill roles and fill space." 

The Sharks acquired defenseman Roman Polak and forward Nick Spaling from the Toronto Maple Leafs for Raffi Torres, and second-round picks in the 2017 and 2018 NHL Draft, on Monday to add to a team 13-3-3 in its past 19 games. 

Neither will be available Monday, but could be when the Sharks end a five-game trip at the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday. 

"Exciting day, obviously, when you can add a couple pieces," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "We're down to the last 25 games, there's a real push here. I think the message is that we think we have a chance. Management is going to do what they can to try and help the group out. Now it's on us to get them together on the ice and deliver the proper results. It's obviously so tough to win in this League and the margin is so thin, but these are two pieces that I think really make us a better team and give us a chance to play with anybody." 

Captain Joe Pavelski played against Polak in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs when Polak was with the Blues. He believes the boost in player personnel is a shot in the arm to the Sharks locker room. 

"Obviously we're excited to get the kind of experience from players that are tough to play against," Pavelski said. "Everything you hear they're solid teammates. We're looking forward to adding them to our group, adding that depth and keep going forward." 

The Sharks had incentive to get bigger to help fend off the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks in the Pacific Division. San Jose is in third place, three points behind Anaheim and five behind Los Angeles. 

"That was definitely part of the thinking, was the division we play in, who we're going to end up playing probably in the playoffs, where it goes through," DeBoer said. "It's not limited to them. You look at St. Louis too, they're that type of team. That's the reality of the Western Conference. I think our group of defensemen has done an exceptional job this year of defending and being hard to play against. But, [Polak] brings some dimensions that are hard to find." 

Here are the projected lineups: 


Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski 
Matt Nieto - Patrick Marleau - Joel Ward  
Joonas Donskoi - Logan Couture - Melker Karlsson  
Mike Brown - Chris Tierney - Dainius Zubrus   

Paul Martin - Brent Burns  
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun  
Dylan DeMelo - Matt Tennyson   

Martin Jones  
Alex Stalock  

Injured: Tommy Wingels (upper body), Brenden Dillon (upper body) 
Scratched: Roman Polak, Nick Spaling, Barclay Goodrow 


Jaden Schwartz - Jori Lehtera - Vladimir Tarasenko  
Robby Fabbri - Paul Stastny - Troy Brouwer 
Magnus Paajarvi - David Backes - Patrik Berglund  
Scottie Upshall - Kyle Brodziak - Ryan Reaves  

Jay Bouwmeester - Kevin Shattenkirk  
Carl Gunnarsson - Colton Parayko  
Joel Edmundson - Robert Bortuzzo  

Brian Elliott  
Jake Allen 

Injured: Alexander Steen (upper body), Alex Pietrangelo (knee), Steve Ott (hamstring) 
Scratched: Dmitrij Jaskin, Jordan Schmaltz  

Status report: Paajarvi will come into the lineup replacing Steen; he had been a healthy scratch five straight games. … Elliott will start for the Blues, but Allen could start in one of their back-to-back games this weekend at the Nashville Predators or Carolina Hurricanes. 

Who's hot: Thornton has 49 points (12 goals, 37 assists) in 45 games against the Blues. ... Fabbri has a point in six of his past seven games (three goals, four assists). Parayko has a point in five of his past six games (one goal, six assists). 

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