Blues' injured defenseman Shattenkirk needs abdominal surgery
ST. LOUIS -- The Blues will have to play through one of their busiest stretches of the season without one of the NHL's top defensemen.
General manager Doug Armstrong announced Kevin Shattenkirk will undergo abdominal surgery in the next seven to 10 days and then be listed as week to week, according to a release sent out Monday evening. Shattenkirk left Sunday's 4-3 win at Washington in the first period and did not return after a collision with Alex Ovechkin that sent the Blues' defenseman sliding into the boards.
It's the third injury for the Blues in their last three games, and by far their most devastating. Forwards Jori Lehtera and Patrik Berglund have not played since suffering injuries in last Thursday's 5-4 shootout win over Nashville, but neither one has been placed on injured reserve.
Shattenkirk leads all NHL defensemen with 32 assists and ranks second with 40 points overall as one of the top contenders for the Norris Trophy, awarded to the league's top defenseman. He earned his first All-Star Game appearance last month and ranks third on the team with nearly 23 minutes of ice time per game.
Veteran Alex Pietrangelo stepped up in a big way as St. Louis managed to survive Sunday without Shattenkirk, who celebrated his 26th birthday last Thursday and needs just three assists and five points to match his career highs. St. Louis native Chris Butler will likely return to the lineup Tuesday against Tampa Bay after not playing in seven straight games, and 21-year-old Petteri Lindbohm could be recalled for the fourth time this season.