Friday, April 28, 2017

Blues Move Barbashev in for Paajarvi for Game 2

Ivan Barbashev will get a second chance in the St. Louis Blues' lineup after being a healthy scratch for the last two playoff games.

The 21-year-old Russian played the first four games of the Wild series, getting top-line minutes with Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz.

Magnus Paajarvi, the man who scored the series-clinching OT winner for the Blues in Game 5, will sit.

Blues coach Mike Yeo says he was eager to give Barbashev another chance in the lineup to see what he can do. Jori Lehtera, who was scratched in games two, three and four of the Wild series, came in to replace Barbashev and has remained in the lineup.

Here's his thoughts on the matter, via Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post Dispatch:

"We like to give players a chance to respond and a chance to get back in there when they come out of the lineup. We saw what that did for (Lehtera). This is in no way anything against Magnus. We're very grateful and appreciative of what he's done and very confident in what he can do for us. But Barbie's been a good player for us for a long time too. Having him out of the lineup, he'll be energized, he brings a physical element but there's more to his game than just that. He has the ability to make plays, he plays with a conscience as far as how he plays without the puck. But when he gets the puck in the offensive zone, he has a chance to create something. And so we'll see what he can do here tonight."

According to Rutherford, Barbashev is likely to skate on the wing on a line with Lehtera and Vladimir Sobotka.