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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 7:25 am 
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The St. Louis Blues will have one goal in the final game of the regular season Sunday night against the Colorado Avalanche.

Don't get anybody hurt.

The outcome of the game will not matter to the Blues, who locked up third place in the Central Division on Saturday night when they won 5-4 in a shootout at Carolina. The Blues will play the Minnesota Wild in the first round of the playoffs for the second time in three years.

"This was something we set our sights on," said coach Mike Yeo. "These last couple months have been quite a run."

The series will be a homecoming for Yeo, who was the coach of the Wild before he was fired last year. He was subsequently hired by the Blues, taking over as the head coach on Feb. 1 when Ken Hitchcock was fired.

"I'm sure it's going to turn into quite a story," Yeo said. "It's funny in sports; these stories seem to have a way of coming around. But for me it's not me against them. It's our group with a real tough opponent in the way of what we're trying to accomplish."

The Wild knocked the Blues out of the playoffs in six games in 2015 after the Blues had won the division title.

"I think it will be important for our coach and important for us, too, because we lost to them a couple years ago," Vladimir Tarasenko told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "It's still in our memories and we want to payback."

Because Sunday night's game won't have a bearing on the standings, the Blues could rest several of their regular players, or at least limit their ice time, to try to guard against an injury that might knock them out for the series against the Wild.

The Blues already are without two key players, center Paul Stastny and defenseman Robert Bortuzzo, because of injuries. It is not known when either will be ready to play.

It is expected that forward Vladimir Sobotka will be in the Blues lineup. He rejoined the team this week after leaving his team in the KHL but was a healthy scratch for Saturday night's game.


Sunday night's game also is basically meaningless for the Avalanche, who will finish the season with the worst record in the NHL. Their 4-3 shootout loss at Dallas Saturday night left them 3-11-1 in their last 15 games.

Joe Sakic, the team's executive vice president, is well aware of how much his team has struggled this season.

"We had a terrible year. Up and down, it was not a good year," Sakic told the Denver Post on Saturday. "Our top guys did not have good years, production-wise. And our goaltending situation, with (Semyon Varlamov) being out, and we might as well say the whole year with his issues, that snowballed.

"You don't forget about this year. You have to learn from this year. No one can say, 'Aw, let's forget about it. Let's start fresh.' The mind-set has to be, 'We have to remember this year, and for especially the players to focus on, 'All right, this summer better be a summer of work to get back to a certain level of play.' "
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Blues • The Blues can take it easy in this one after clinching third on Saturday. ... This is the fourth time in just over a month for the Blues to play Colorado. The Blues are 3-0-1 against the Avalanche this season, ... The Blues have won seven straight on the back half of back-to-backs and nine of 11 overall.

Avalanche • Colorado just finished a run of 10 straight games against playoff-bound teams, going 2-8, with one win in overtime (vs. Chicago), one win in a shootout (vs. the Blues). ... Colorado is second in faceoff percentage at 53.8 percent, behind only Anaheim. Matt Duchene leads the league at 62.7.

Injuries • Blues — F Jori Lehtera (sick) is questionable. D Robert Bortuzzo (upper body), C Paul Stastny (lower body), RW Nail Yakupov (undisclosed) and LW Robby Fabbri (knee), out. Avalanche — D Nikita Zadorov (ankle) and G Semyon Varlamov (hip) are out.


This day in history:
1968 North Stars forward Wayne Connelly becomes the first player in NHL history to score a on a penalty shot in a playoff game
1980 Gordie Howe scores his 68th and final goal of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in Whalers' 8-4 loss to Canadiens. Gordie, Mark, and Marty Howe each have points in the same NHL game for the only time in their careers.
1987 Wayne Gretzky ties single-game playoff record with six assists and passes Hall of Famer Jean Beliveau for all-time career playoff scoring lead during the Oilers' 13-3 win over Kings
1993 Mario Lemieux scores 5 goals while Joe Mullen scores three as Penguins defeat Rangers 10-4 breaking the NHL record for consecutive wins with 16. Lemieux scored a PP, EV, and SH goal in the 2nd period.
1997 Fuhr shuts out Blackhawks and Hull scores his 500th as Blues defeat Blackhawks 1-0 to clinch playoff spot
2010 Keith Tkachuk records 2 assists in his final NHL game as Blues defeat Ducks 6-3

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 2:57 pm 
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Forwards
Jaden Schwartz - Ivan Barbashev - Vladimir Tarasenko
Alexander Steen - Patrik Berglund - David Perron
Vladimir Sobotka - Jori Lehtera - Magnus Paajarvi
Dmitrij Jaskin - Zach Sanford - Ryan Reaves

Defense
Jay Bouwmeester - Chris Butler
Joel Edmundson - Colton Parayko
Carl Gunnarsson - Jordan Schmaltz

Goalie
Jake Allen


Kind of surprised they aren't giving Parayko the night off with the way his play his quality of play has tailed off some recently. Totally get not playing Pietrangelo.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 3:37 pm 
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A win would be nice I guess. But, no injuries would be great.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 3:55 pm 
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The only way this game will have any significant meaning is if the Blues meet the Sharks at some point in the playoffs.

Currently, the Sharks are 2 points ahead of the Blues. With a Blues win, they are tied in points, Ws, and ROWs. The Blues hold the next tie-breaker having gone 3-0 against the Sharks this season. This would give the Blues home-ice were they to meet later in the playoffs. Blues loss, Sharks get home-ice. That is the only way this game has any significance, because no other things can change in the standings based upon it. Assuming the Blues don't reach the Finals and have to play Boston, Toronto or maybe Ottawa if the Sens lose today. :letsgoblues: :okman:

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 4:47 pm 
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Sanford rifles in a great pass from Jaskin!!!! Blues score in last few seconds!!! Lead 1-0, after 1!!!

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 5:05 pm 
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Robb_K wrote:
Sanford rifles in a great pass from Jaskin!!!! Blues score in last few seconds!!! Lead 1-0, after 1!!!


Started with a face-off win by Sanford.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 5:09 pm 
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Shame Confer was there to play goalie and Rob Tarasenko. Boo!

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 5:21 pm 
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Wow! I hope Schwartz is okay. His leg got caught and twisted under his defender. That would be terrible if he misses any game.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 5:25 pm 
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Great to see Schwartz back on the ice!

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 5:40 pm 
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The Blues didn't play very well that period. I hope they come out skating and hitting. More likely to get hurt just cruising than playing full out.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 6:01 pm 
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That faceoff which was re-done leading to the 2nd Avs goal should never have been re-done. The linesman "thought" the Blues had an edge by starting too soon. No one moved too soon, the Blues were just quicker AFTER the puck was dropped.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 6:03 pm 
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Sobotka ties it at 2-2!!!! He DOES get that evasive 82.0 scoring avg!!!!! Great pass by Lehtera!!!!

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 6:07 pm 
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Tarasenko with a quick wrister for his 39th goal!!!! Blues lead 3-2!!!

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 6:07 pm 
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Would be nice for Tarasenko to get 1 more and finish up the season with 40. He's finally got a worthwhile centerman to get it done.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 6:09 pm 
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Sobotka is making some nice feeder passes! Maybe he'll surprise us in The Playoffs and score like a madman!

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 6:11 pm 
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Lehtera got his 100th point with an assist on the Sobotka goal.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 6:26 pm 
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Good kill! Will they close out the regular season on a good note (Blue note!)?

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 6:33 pm 
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Chance for Tarasenko to get goal #40 with an empty net...

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 6:36 pm 
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Blues win!!! 99 points!!! End the season on a positive note!!! Good to go for The Playoffs!!!

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 6:37 pm 
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No 40th goal for Tarasenko, but I think we'll agree to call it a 40-goal season.

On to Minnesota!

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