The Blues got two key defensemen back last night - Marco Scandella returned from a six game absence, and Torey Krug’s absence from half of Monday’s game against the Coyotes was a temporary setback.
The Blues’ list of missing forwards, however, is concerning. The last thing they need is anyone else missing time. Sammy Blais’s returned, but Tyler Bozak and Jaden Schwartz are still out. Robert Thomas won’t be re-evaluated for his broken thumb for at least a month.
And now, the Blues got what they didn’t need - Ivan Barbashev left last night’s game with a lower body injury, and today he’s been placed on the injured reserve. He injured his ankle, and will be re-evaluated in six seeks.
Barbashev has seen moments of flat play this season, but Craig Berube’s decision to slot him onto the top line for now has given him an opportunity to pick up his pace of play. Losing Barbashev is not a good thing, and for the Blues to now be down Bozak, Thomas, and Barbashev is rough. They’ve continued to find ways to be competitive despite the absences of their teammates, which is a skill they’ve acquired well over years of having rashes of injuries happen at once. As a precaution, the Blues have recalled Nathan Waller from the Utica Comets and placed him on the taxi squad.
Blais was practicing and slotted on the third line today, while Jordan Kyrou was moved up to the top line. This is a good sign - Kyrou, who is tied for second the team with goals (6) and points (14), is now on a line with David Perron and Ryan O’Reilly. Perron leads the team with 18 points (6G, 12 A) and O’Reilly is tied with Kyrou and Brayden Schenn for second at 14 points (5 goals, 9 assists). It puts a lot of the Blues scoring prowess in one basket, which might be tough for the Sharks to handle on Saturday.