The Blues will get two of their top players back when defenseman Barret Jackman and left winger Andy McDonald return to the lineup today against Atlanta.
Jackman has missed 11 games with a high-ankle sprain. McDonald missed two games after his collision with the boards against Florida.
With Jackman playing, Darryl Sydor will sit out, and with McDonald in the lineup, Keith Tkachuk will have the day off. The Blues are calling it a “maintenance day” for Sydor and Tkachuk, who are the two oldest players on the team at age 37.
Defenseman Roman Polak is OK after flying over goaltender Chris Mason and into the back of the net last night. He will be back in the lineup today.
Here are the defensive pairings with Jackman back:
Barret Jackman-Erik Johnson
Eric Brewer-Alex Pietrangelo
Mike Weaver-Roman Polak
I don’t have the forward combinations for today, but Lars Eller will be in the lineup. Lars was brought up under emergency conditions when McDonald went down. But the Blues have room on their roster, so it’s just a matter of taking away Eller’s “emergency” designation and making him a regular call up.
The coaching staff believes that Eller has played well, and there are no immediate plans to send him back to Peoria.
Blues backup Ty Conklin will be in net today against Atlanta. These are the last back-to-back games for the Blues until Nov. 27-28. So if the Blues can get Conklin a start today, they should be able to count on Mason for at least the next six or seven starts.
With Saturday’s 2-1 shootout loss at Philadelphia, here’s the Blues’ record under Murray in OT and in shootouts since taking over in December 2006:
2006-07: 4-3 OT, 3-5 shootout
2007-08: 1-8 OT, 3-5 shootout
2008-09: 4-4 OT, 6-6 shootout
2009-10: 0-2 in OT, 0-1 shootout