(HockeyStL) -- In an attempt to fix various aspects of their play the Blues have elected to make several lineup changes for Sunday’s game four.
Blues forward Ryan Reaves will make his return to the lineup after sitting for the last seven games. Reaves’ was in the lineup in game one of the quarterfinal series against the Sharks, but was replaced by B.J. Crombeen for game two and has sat out ever since. Ken Hitchcock is hoping that Reaves will provide more physicality and energy for the Blues in a do-or-die game four. Reaves will return to the fourth line where he is accustomed to playing with Jamie Langebrunner and Scott Nichol.
Also making his way back into the lineup is rookie defenseman Ian Cole. Cole, 23, will start in his second career playoff game, replacing veteran Carlo Colaiacovo. Hitchcock says he made this move to add size on defense. Cole had 10:46 of ice time and recorded two hits when he replaced Alex Pietrangelo in game two of the semifinal series against the Kings.
By taking out Colaiacovo, the Blues put themselves at a disadvantage on the power play, but could better their five on five play with Cole in the lineup. Hitchcock says that five on five play is what wins games in the playoffs so this may have had a bearing on his decision. Colaiacovo, along with many other Blues players, has not been on top of his game so the move to bring Cole in is a last ditch effort by Hitchcock to get his team going.
It is clear that Hitchcock is looking for more size and speed in his lineup so hopefully these two lineup changes will provide just that.
Game four will take place Sunday at two o’clock in Los Angeles. The Blues will look to bring the series back to St. Louis for game five.