Gameday: Blues at Wild

Blues forward Ivan Barbashev (49) takes the faceoff against Wild captain Mikko Koivu (9). (Photo courtesy: Bruce Kluckhohn, Getty Images)

2/23: Blues/Wild, Xcel Energy Center, 6:30pm CT – NBCSN, ESPN 101.1

ST. PAUL – The St. Louis Blues (35-17-10) can make it four in a row tonight against the division rival Minnesota Wild (29-24-7). Colton Parayko and the Blues demolished the Stars on Friday with a dominant 5-1 win. Despite being without captain Alex Pietrangelo (illness) and Tyler Bozak (upper-body), Parayko scored a goal and added two assists as the Blues kept the Stars from scoring until the final three minutes of the game. Jordan Kyrou also had one of his best performances as a Blue, scoring a goal and an assist.

“We were ready to go, I thought,” coach Craig Berube told stlouisblues.com after the game. “First period was excellent. I thought the energy was really good. Back-to-back games, but we were jumping, we were on top of things. We were tight, we were tight right away.”

Wild veteran Jared Spurgeon scored his first NHL hat trick all in the third period against the Edmonton Oilers to get a 5-3 win on Friday. Their two consecutive wins puts them four points out of a wild card spot.

“I think the guys were very committed,” Evason told NHL.com. “We really committed to playing better defense. We were getting opportunities, so we were able to reinforce that between periods, that we’re getting our chances, guys, but let’s tighten up in all areas. The neutral zone was real good.”

Alex Pietrangelo returns to the lineup after missing the last game with an illness, while head coach Craig Berube has listed Tyler Bozak as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Marco Scandella will remain in the lineup alongside Colton Parayko.

The Blues and Wild play for the third of four meetings this season, with St. Louis winning both previous contests. The game will be aired nationally in St. Paul on NBCSN at 6:30pm CT, while the radio side still on ESPN 101.1.

Patience with Kyrou Paying Off

Since being drafted 35th in the 2016 draft, Blues prospect Jordan Kyrou is showing his true NHL potential, after registering a sweet goal and an assist in Friday’s game.

Kyrou’s definitely one player that’s had mixed reviews in recent times in his NHL play with St. Louis, both from coaches and fans alike. However, his linemates had nothing but good things to say about Kyrou’s development after the 5-1 win.

“Playing unbelievable hockey,” Alex Steen said in the STL Post-Dispatch. “Smart, quick, getting into holes. I think he’s playing a lot tighter now to the other four (skaters) trying to stay in the mix a little bit more. He’s grown a lot. I think he’s playing tremendous hockey right now, very smart hockey. He’s playing a very mature game and he’s getting rewarded for it.”

“[Kyrou]’s learning on the fly,” Berube said. “We do things differently here than what he’s done in the past at other places and he’s learning. And he’s a smart kid.”

Berube’s the type of coach that makes their players earn their ice time, and Kyrou finally seems to be turning the page on that, as he registered 9:21 of ice time in the game.

“I definitely feel the more I play, the more comfortable I get,” Kyrou said. “I’m just staying positive in my head. Obviously we have a really good team, so whenever I get out there, I just got to do what I can to help the team win. That’s what I felt like I’ve been doing.”

Blue Notes

David Perron broke a career-high 9-game goalless drought with a goal on Friday… Jaden Schwartz has 3 goals in his last 5 games… Justin Faulk has four assists in his last four games against Minnesota

Projected Lineups

FORWARDS

Schwartz – O’Reilly – Schenn

Sanford – Thomas – Perron

Steen – Sundqvist – Kyrou

MacEachern – Barbashev – Blais

DEFENSE

Gunnarsson – Pietrangelo

Scandella – Parayko

Dunn – Faulk

IN GOAL

Binnington

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