ST. LOUIS - Reversing the trend from the regular season, the Blues continue to have everyone on their roster available to them. They are all healthy, or as healthy as anyone can be following a grueling seven game playoff series.
“I think everyone has a shot block that they're still feeling but those are normal things for this time of year,” Kevin Shattenkirk said following the team’s 50 minute practice Thursday before heading to Dallas.
The Blues took two days to recover from their opening series against Chicago. They stayed away from the ice and came back together Thursday at Scottrade where everyone except Scottie Upshall participated. Ken Hitchcock said his fourth-line forward needed one more maintenance day. Upshall was on the ice for the team's morning skate Friday in Dallas.
“We knocked the rust off,” Hitchcock said of his team’s latest practice. “We had good tempo and execution was to be expected with two days off. But we got our 50 minutes in. We'll take that and our pregame skate tomorrow and be ready to go.”
Besides giving their bodies a rest the two days off afforded their minds a break too.
“It was a little mentally draining and I think having this little break was perfect,” Shattenkirk added. “It was great to have three days in between games took yesterday to really reset and be able to come out and have a good game [Friday].”
And the Blues will need to come back even stronger in Round 2. As reward to beating the defending Stanley Cup Champions, St. Louis gets to play the best offense in the West.
During the regular season, Dallas led the league in goals scored with 265 - 46 more than the second place Blues. Fortunately for the Blues, the Stars are dealing with an injury to Tyler Seguin who scored 33 goals this year. His 73 points were second only to captain Jamie Benn. Seguin is expected to miss at least the first two games of the series as he recovers from an Achilles injury.
“To me they’re a deep team that can score throughout their lineup and you're going to have to pay attention,” Hitchcock said of the opposing organization. “If you fall asleep, if any line falls asleep, we're going to be in a vulnerable position. Their record in the Central was terrific and their record against playoff teams was even better. We're going to have to be sharp in every aspect.”
With three days without playoff hockey in St. Louis everyone is ready for Friday night’s puck drop, scheduled for 7 p.m.
“Guys are fresh. Guys are ready to go. We’re ready to jump right back in this thing,” said forward Steve Ott.
Jaden Schwartz-Jori Lehtera-Vladimir Tarasenko
Robby Fabbri-Paul Stastny-Troy Brouwer
Alexander Steen-Patrik Berglund-David Backes
Steve Ott-Kyle Brodziak-Scottie Upshall
Jay Bouwmeester-Alex Pietrangelo
Joel Edmundson-Kevin Shattenkirk
Carl Gunnarsson-Colton Parayko