Paul Stastny fell victim to a Vladimir Tarasenko shot Tuesday night. As unfortunate as losing him is for the Blues, head coach Mike Yeo has a backup plan: Alexander Steen. Steen will be centering Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz, who scored his first non-empty net goal since the Obama administration against the Avalanche.
Jaden Schwartz - Alexander Steen - Vladimir Tarasenko
Zach Sanford - Patrik Berglund - David Perron
Magnus Paajarvi - Ivan Barbashev - Nail Yakupov
Scottie Upshall - Kyle Brodziak - Ryan Reaves
Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo
Joel Edmundson - Colton Parayko
Carl Gunnarsson - Robert Bortuzzo
The required line-shuffling breaks up the surprisingly good trio of Paajarvi, Barbashev, and Sanford, but it gives Sanford a chance to shine on a line with Perron and Berglund, who scored two goals in Denver on Tuesday night.
The Blues haven’t had a home game since March 11 against the New York Islanders. Since then, they’ve snagged eight out of ten points on an extended road trip and have wound up back in third place in the Central Division. They also sit eight points above the Los Angeles Kings in the wild card race, just in case the Predators beat the Flames tonight and the Blues lose.
Recent history may be on the Blues’ side. They’ve won four of their last five games against the Canucks, and their one loss was in extra time. The Canucks haven’t been playing well, losing six games in a row before their overtime victory against the Blackhawks. They also got popped with the mumps, which shockingly hasn’t felt the need to run roughshod through the entire league this year like it has in the past.
The Canucks are five games under .500, and are looking up at the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames. It’s safe to say they won’t be headed to the playoffs this season. With Stastny out, they may try to play spoiler tonight. The Canucks are worse off on the injury front, with Markus Granlund, Brendan Gaunce, Loui Eriksson, Anton Robin, Erik Gudbranson, and Derek Dorsett all out. Heck, even goaltender Jacob Markstrom is out with food poisoning.
This just isn’t the Canucks’ year, is it?