In an effort to keep his team’s legs fresh for this five game road trip and stretch of three games in four nights, Blues coach Mike Yeo announced several lineup changes for this evening’s game in Ottawa.
"We wanted some fresh legs tonight," Yeo said. "A pretty hectic schedule and a team that's sitting here waiting for us and coming off a tough loss last game, I expect them to come at us, so I think we've got to be ready to skate."
Though Carter Hutton put up a shutout last night, Jake Allen will reclaim the net. Yeo said he was impressed with Allen’s play on Saturday against Pittsburgh, despite the loss, and is looking to build on that momentum.
Paajarvi will take the lineup spot that was occupied by Dmitrij Jaskin, and Robert Bortuzzo will replace Carl Gunnarsson. With those changes, expect the following lines tonight in Kanata (seriously, this isn’t Ottawa):
Alexander Steen Paul Stastny Vladimir Tarasenko
Kenny Agostino Jori Lehtera David Perron
Jaden Schwartz Patrik Berglund Paajarvi
Scottie Upshall Ivan Barbashev Ryan Reaves
Jay Bouwmeester Alex Pietrangelo
Bortuzzo Kevin Shattenkirk
Joel Edmundson Colton Parayko
Many fans on Twitter were curious as to the status of Ivan Barbashev, but Yeo was adamant that his game has been strong. "I like where [Barbashev]'s playing right now," Yeo said. "If you look at the way that our centerman played last game, 'Stas' had a goal and I thought that was one of (Jori Lehtera's) best games in a long time and (Patrik Berglund) was really solid for us.
“So 'Barby' is in a good spot right now. That doesn't mean that he can't work his way up. Every game that he plays, he's earning more confidence from us as a coaching staff. You see him starting more faceoffs in his own defensive zone. We're not afraid to put him on the ice against any line right now, so the fact that he's not getting more of an offensive chance right now doesn't mean that he's not getting more respect and more confidence from us as coaches."
(A HUGE stick tap goes out to Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post Dispatch for passing along the quotes, as I was apparently unable to operate the recorder on my phone.)