Sundqvist suspended, out for Blues in Game 3 of Cup Final
Disciplined for boarding Bruins defenseman Grzelcykby Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer
ST. LOUIS -- Oskar Sundqvist was suspended for one game by the NHL Department of Player of Safety on Thursday.
The St. Louis Blues forward was disciplined for boarding Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday and will not play in Game 3 at St. Louis on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).
Grzelcyk was helped off the ice after Sundqvist's hit with 2:06 remaining in the first period Wednesday and did not return. The Blues won the game 3-2 on Carl Gunnarsson's goal 3:51 into overtime to even the best-of-7 series.
Grzelcyk is day to day in concussion protocol and did not travel with the Bruins to St. Louis. He has seven points (three goals, four assists) in 19 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
Sundqvist has nine points (four goals, five assists) in 21 playoff games after setting NHL career highs with 14 goals, 17 assists and 31 points in 74 regular-season games. The center on St. Louis' fourth line between Ivan Barbashev and Alexander Steen, he is averaging 15:55 in ice time in the playoffs.
In first two games of the Cup Final, Blues coach Craig Berube used Sundqvist's line at times against the Bruins' top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak.
"[Sundqvist] has always been a very good defensive player, a penalty killer for us, a hard-working guy," Berube said. "But his offensive side has really come through this year. He scored quite a few goals during the regular season and he's gotten four in the playoffs here. … He's playing a real good 200-foot game and we've kind of used him in all different situations."
Before the suspension was announced, Berube declined to discuss how the Blues planned to replace Sundqvist.
With forward Robert Thomas' status for Game 3 unknown after he missed Game 2 with an unspecified injury, Barbashev could shift to center and forward Zach Sanford could be put into the lineup. Sanford, who hasn't played since Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round against the Winnipeg Jets, has no points in three playoff games.
Another option for the Blues would be to use seven defensemen if Vince Dunn can play. He hasn't played since being struck in the mouth by the puck in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final against the San Jose Sharks. Berube said there is a chance Dunn will be available Saturday.
"We have so many guys who can step in and do the job and, obviously, it's tough losing key players like that, but we're confident," Blues center Ryan O'Reilly said. "We have a great group here and so many guys who are able to step in and make an impact."