Injured Blues limp home to host last-place Kings
Four prominent players were knocked out of the lineup during the three-game trip that started in Chicago and ended with stops in Las Vegas and San Jose. The Blues went 1-2, with both losses being shutouts, including a 4-0 setback to the Sharks on Saturday.
Defenseman Carl Gunnarsson and forward Jaden Schwartz, who both suffered upper-body injuries in the Blues’ 4-1 win at Vegas on Friday, missed the finale against the Sharks. Forward Alexander Steen missed both the Vegas and San Jose games, as did forward Pat Maroon, who suffered an upper-body injury against Chicago and was placed on injured reserve.
“It’s being tested,” Blues coach Mike Yeo told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch before the game against the Sharks, referring to the team’s depth. “It was tested within the game last game. Obviously, we had to shorten the bench playing the majority of the game with five defensemen and then losing Schwartzie and guys stepped up. They seemed to be excited about the opportunity for extra ice time. Back-to-back games can be a little bit more of a challenge, but we’ve got young legs in the lineup and it’s an opportunity for guys to prove they belong at this level or they belong in the role we’re giving them an opportunity to play.”
The Blues (7-8-3, 17 points) did not make any immediate roster moves.
The injuries, plus the travel, seemed to catch up with the Blues in a lackluster performance against the Sharks.
“It wasn’t just the offense,” Yeo told the Post-Dispatch. “Defensively, we also gave up a whole bunch tonight, too. In the third period, we generated a number of high-quality scoring chances and it was all through hard work. It’s a simple recipe that we have to follow night after night. We did it last night and we didn’t do it for the first two periods tonight, and we just can’t keep coming and saying it’s good one night, it’s not good the next night. We have to demand of ourselves that we bring it night after night for 60 minutes.”
Monday’s game will be the first meeting this season between the Blues and Kings. The Blues won two of three meetings last season.
Coming off a 5-3 loss at Nashville on Saturday, the Kings have lost four of their last five games. They are in last place in the Pacific Division with 13 points (6-12-1).
Kings center Anze Kopitar snapped a five-game scoreless streak with a two-point night in the loss to the Predators.
“It’s extremely frustrating going from an MVP nominee to barely getting any chances,” Kopitar told NHL.com on Wednesday. “But I’ll correct it. I have no doubt in my mind that I’ll correct it.”