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Conference Final

Gunnarsson back in Blues lineup for Game 4 against Sharks

Defenseman did not play past three games, replaces injured Dunn

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

ST. LOUIS -- Carl Gunnarsson will take Vince Dunn's place in the St. Louis Blues lineup for Game 4 of the Western Conference Final against the San Jose Sharks at Enterprise Center on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVAS).

Dunn was hit in the face by a shot from San Jose defenseman Brenden Dillon in the first period of Game 3 on Wednesday. He left the game and did not return; the Blues are listing him as day-to-day.

"He's home and he's just recovering," Blues coach Craig Berube said after the morning skate.

 

[RELATED: Complete Sharks vs. Blues series coverage]

 

The Blues trail the best-of-7 series 2-1.

Gunnarsson, 32, comes back into the lineup after sitting out the first three games of the series. He also did not play the first four games of the first round against the Winnipeg Jets.

"I thought it was pretty quick [getting up to speed], for sitting out the first four," Gunnarsson said about his return to the lineup on April 18. "I didn't feel like I missed a step in that one, so hopefully it's the same thing tonight."

He has played nine playoff games this season without a point. In 52 Stanley Cup Playoff games he has three points, all assists.

"I'm really excited. It's going to be a lot of fun," Gunnarsson said. "Just been sitting on the side waiting for this so it's going to be great tonight."

Video: Sharks vs. Blues roundtable discussion

Gunnarsson averaged 15:43 of ice time in his nine games in the playoffs this season and has proven to be a reliable option for the Blues.

"He's a steady defenseman," Berube said. "We know what we're getting from him. He's a simple, first-pass defenseman. Defends well. Smart player.

"He's been in the League for a while, played in big games, big situations in the playoffs before, so it's a good thing to have for sure."

Dunn has seven points (two goals, five assists) in 16 postseason games. He scored a goal in Game 2 against the Sharks and one in Game 7 against the Dallas Stars in the second round.

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