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Preview: Blues at Sharks

St. Louis goaltender Carter Hutton will start; defenseman David Schlemko returns for San Jose

by Eric Gilmore / NHL.com Correspondent

BLUES (21-16-5) at SHARKS (25-15-2)

10:30 p.m. ET; FS-MW, CSN-CA, NHL.TV

 

Blues team scope

St. Louis Blues backup goaltender Carter Hutton will start in place of Jake Allen, who has been pulled from three of his past five starts. Allen allowed three goals on 15 shots in 25:00 before being replaced in a 5-1 loss at the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday. Hutton is 4-5-2 with a 2.88 goals-against average and .894 save percentage in 16 games, and is 2-0-2 in his past four starts. "I feel like I'm playing good lately, even coming off the bench cold," Hutton said. "I think I've been solid. For me it's just business as usual tonight." Coach Ken Hitchcock made one change to his lineup, inserting fourth-line left wing Dmitrij Jaskin in place of Scottie Upshall, adding more size against the physical Sharks. Hitchcock said he could move Jaskin up during the game if need be. "We brought Jaskin in for that reason that if we need more size and weight on the ice we'll use him in that role," Hitchcock said. "So I think we've just got to read it and see how it looks." Hitchcock juggled his top three lines late in the second period against the Kings, and he'll open with the same look: Left wing Nail Yakupov will skate on the second line with center Jori Lehtera and right wing Vladimir Tarasenko. Left wing Jaden Schwartz will be on the top line with center Paul Stastny and right wing Alexander Steen. Left wing Robby Fabbri will skate on the third line with center Patrik Berglund and right wing David Perron. "We liked what we saw, and we want to see if there's some budding chemistry there, but we're pretty flexible too," Hitchcock said.

 

Sharks team scope

Defenseman David Schlemko will return to the San Jose Sharks lineup after missing five games with an upper body injury, and defenseman Paul Martin said he expects to play after missing one game with a lower body injury. Barring a setback, the Sharks will have their top six defensemen in the lineup together for the first time since Dec. 30. "I felt good this morning so I think I'll most likely be in tonight," said Martin, injured during a 5-3 victory against the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. "Feels good. ... I think to actually have those [defensemen] we expect to be back there will be good." Coach Peter DeBoer said Martin will be a game-time decision. Schlemko has been out since taking a hit from Los Angeles Kings forward Jordan Nolan in the third period on Dec. 31. "You always want to get back right away," Schlemko said. "There's a difference between playing hurt and playing injured. I was injured. It's always frustrating, especially when you're not going on road trips and got to watch the boys on TV. That's no fun. Just happy and excited to be back." The Sharks will be without second-line forward Joonas Donskoi, out with an upper-body injury. Mikkel Boedker will take Donskoi's spot on the second line, and Tommy Wingels will return to the lineup and center the fourth line. Left wing Patrick Marleau is expected move from the third to the top line, trading places with rookie Timo Meier.

 

Blues projected lineup

Jaden Schwartz -- Paul Stastny -- Alexander Steen

Nail Yakupov -- Jori Lehtera -- Vladimir Tarasenko

Robby Fabbri -- Patrik Berglund -- David Perron

Dmitrij Jaskin -- Kyle Brodziak -- Ryan Reaves

Alex Pietrangelo -- Colton Parayko

Jay Bouwmeester -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Joel Edmundson -- Robert Bortuzzo

Carter Hutton

Jake Allen

Scratched: Scottie Upshall, Brad Hunt

Injured: Carl Gunnarsson (lower body)

 

Sharks projected lineup

Patrick Marleau -- Joe Thornton -- Joe Pavelski

Kevin Labanc -- Logan Couture -- Mikkel Boedker

Timo Meier -- Chris Tierney -- Joel Ward

Micheal Haley --Tommy Wingels -- Melker Karlsson

Paul Martin -- Brent Burns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun

Brenden Dillon -- David Schlemko

Martin Jones

Aaron Dell

Scratched: Tim Heed, Ryan Carpenter

Injured: Joonas Donskoi (upper body),Tomas Hertl (knee), Dylan DeMelo (broken wrist)

 

Status report

The Sharks recalled Carpenter from the San Jose Barracuda of the American Hockey League, but he's expected to be a healthy scratch. ... Gunnarsson will miss his fifth straight game.

 

Who's hot

Burns has nine points (two goals, seven assists) in a four-game point streak. … Pavelski has five points (three goals, two assists) in a four-game point streak. … Boedker has five points (four goals, one assist) in a three-game point streak. … Steen has six points (one goal, five assists) in his past five games. … Stastny has five points (three goals, two assists) in his past four games

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