Alex Pietrangelo will play tonight when they face the kings in what truly is a must win for the visiting team.
Pietrangelo has been dealing with both a lower body injury as well as some concussion like symptoms resulting from a pretty hard collision with the boards in the series opener.
The fact that he made it through the entire practice on Wednesday but remains questionable tells you all you need to know. It looks like he can play through the lower body soreness, how his head feels is a different story.
It’s pretty simple, if he wakes up Thursday morning feeling foggy and continues to have headaches then he’s unlikely to play. If the issues related to his head disappear and he feels fine after exercising and elevating his heart rate then he should be good to go.
The fact that he skated Wednesday can only be looked at as a positive sign.
This is a decision Pietrangelo will make with his family along with the Blues medical staff. They obviously will avoid sacrificing his long-term health for short-term gain. He’s 22 years old with along career ahead of him and they won’t put him in a potential negative situation.
Sources indicate Pietrangelo was still dealing with headaches Monday morning along with some “lower body pain” which prevented him from playing in Game 2. In doing so he was able to buy a few extra days to improve and hopefully get back into the lineup.
Pietrangelo is obviously a key player to the Blues success. His ability to calm things down especially on the power play is what the Blues missed the most on Monday.
I’m told the Blues won’t for sure know Pietrangelo’s availability until later this morning.
Whenever you’re down in a series you often look for change that gets things moving in a positive direction. The Blues hope playing Barret Jackman with Pietrangelo alleviates some of the pressure off of Pietrangelo’s shoulders. If he does play he’ll be less than 100% and Ken Hitchcock is reaching in trying to find a solution. They tried this pairing a few weeks ago and Hitchcock admitted things didn’t go very well. They hope they aren’t saying the same after Game 3.
Jackman is a veteran player on this roster and he needs to be better flat out. It’s his job to stabilize things especially when paired with younger players with limited playoff experience. Not that Jackman has a ton of post-season experience but he’s been in this situation before.
His ability to lead on the ice will be tested. Los Angeles is getting what they need from their veteran D-men especially Willie Mitchell who’s been fantastic throughout the playoffs.
The pairing of Jackman and Kevin Shattenkirk has really struggled even going back to the San Jose series. Splitting these two up looks like a choice the coaching staff felt like they had to make.
Carlo Colaiacovo certainly needs to raise his level of play as well. His performance in Game 2 led to limited ice throughout the game.
All of these guys need to play within the walls of who they are as players. Once they step out of these boundaries they get themselves in trouble. Colaiacovo and Jackman are at their best when the puck is off their stick. Finding and utilizing the first option will help keep them out of trouble.
Keeping things simple will go a long way in keeping these guys out of the doghouse.
The coaching staff has considered sitting Jason Arnott going back to Game 2 of the previous series. He played much of the second half of the year with both shoulder and knee soreness. He won’t play tonight and Vladimir Sobotka slides to the middle in his place. David Perron moves down to play with Sobotka and Stewart.
T.J. Oshie is still looking for his first career playoff goal. He has yet to score in 11 career playoff games.
Alex Steen has just one goal in 11 career post-season games.
More to come,
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