The St. Louis Blues snapped their five-game losing streak with Saturday’s shootout win over the Los Angeles Kings, but their recent road trip took a toll.
Center Paul Stastny, defenseman Jay Bouwmeester and goalie Jake Allen were all injured Friday’s shootout loss to the Anaheim Ducks. Then defenseman Carl Gunnarsson and forward Magnus Paajarvi were injured against the Kings.
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock rattled off the list of his team’s injuries following Monday’s practice session.
“(Steve) Ott and (Jaden) Schwartz are where they’re at,” Hitchcock told reporters, noting the team’s two previously injured players. “Jake Allen is week-to-week, (lower) body. … Magnus Paajarvi is week-to-week, upper body. Gunnarsson is week-to-week, upper body. Bouwmeester week-to-week, upper body. And Stastny’s day-to-day, upper body.”
“Is that them all?” Hitchcock continued. “That’s seven? Eight?”
It’s been that type of season for the Blues (24-14-7, 55 points), who remain among the top teams in the Western Conference despite dealing with injuries and a recent stretch of uneven play.
But just when it looked like the team was getting healthier again, with Schwartz getting closer to returning from a lower-body injury, the team is hit with another rash of maladies.
“It’s been that type of season,” Hitchcock said. “We’ve battled through this thing and nobody’s feeling sorry for us in the league. We have to get points. We have finish this thing strong. We’re lucky we get a nice week-long break at the All-Star break, which will add healing time on any of these guys that are extended time.
“But in the meantime we’ve got seven games to play and we’ve got to get points. Some seasons we’ve been really fortunate around here to be able to stay relatively healthy. Well this is one of these years where we have to absorb quite a bit. We just have to keep going.”
The Blues made several roster moves to help deal with the injuries.
Rookie goalie Jordan Binnington, a third-round draft pick in 2011, was recalled from the Chicago Wolves to back up Brian Elliott with Allen out. Then defenseman Chris Butler and forward Ty Rattie were recalled from the American Hockey League under emergency conditions.
“Another wave of adversity, but we’ve got plenty of capable bodies,” Blues captain David Backes told reporters. “We’ll patch the holes and shoulder a little more load throughout the lineup and we’ll keep pushing on.”
The Blues return to action on Tuesday night when they begin a four-game home stand against the New Jersey Devils (21-17-5, 47 points) at Scottrade Center. Then they will face the Carolina Hurricanes (18-18-7, 43 points) on Thursday, the Montreal Canadiens (23-17-3, 49 points) on Saturday and the Pittsburgh Penguins (20-16-5, 45 points) on Monday.