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BLUES NOTEBOOK

Blues notebook: Parayko, Dunn leave Colorado game with injuries

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Blues V Avalanche

Blues center Robert Thomas, second from left, races Colorado center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, left, and defenseman Patrik Nemeth (24) for the puck in the first period of a game at Enterprise Center in St. Louis on April 24, 2021. The Blues won 5-3. (Sara Diggins, sdiggins@post-dispatch.com)

The decision by Blues coach Craig Berube to use seven defensemen on Saturday against Colorado turned out to be prescient when the Blues had two of the seven leave the game because of injuries.

Robert Bortuzzo returned to the lineup for the first time in almost three weeks, but Colton Parayko was gone midway through the first period because of an upper-body injury that Berube said was not connected to the back injury that kept him out for 21 games from February to early April. In the third period, Vince Dunn left because of an undisclosed injury and did not return.

Berube said both would be evaluated on Sunday. Because the Blues aren’t practicing Sunday, there won’t be an update until the morning skate on Monday.

“‘Borts’ has been out,” Berube said, “and with their power play and stuff, he blocks shots, he does a good job there. Unfortunate the one went off him in the net there (Nathan MacKinnon’s goal that made it 3-3 in the Blues’ 5-3 victory over Colorado). But he’s trying to do the right thing. It was my decision. I was going to play a lot of my top-line guys tonight, a lot of minutes. When I have one less forward, I can rotate them around.”

Parayko was last on the ice with 7:20 to go in the first, his shift ending with Ryan O’Reilly’s game-tying goal. Dunn left with 12:24 to go in the third, slamming his helmet to the ground as he left the ice and went down the corridor to the dressing room.

Parayko’s absence caused the Blues to rearrange their pairings. Parayko had been skating with Marco Scandella on the pairing that Berube and assistant coach Mike Van Ryn tried to match with MacKinnon’s line whenever possible. With Parayko out, Justin Faulk played with Scandella and Bortuzzo played with Torey Krug.

After Parayko left, the Avalanche didn’t score a goal at five on five, though they did create some dangerous chances. Colorado hit the post four times in the game.

Sanford sitsTo make room for an extra defenseman, Zach Sanford was a healthy scratch for the first time this season. He had a costly error in the game with Colorado on Thursday, with a turnover leading to a goal late in the first period that began the Blues demise.

“I just talked to him about taking a reset here and watching a game and we’ll go from there,” Berube said.

It was the third game Sanford has missed this season. He was absent for one because of the flu and another because of a false positive on a COVID test. He’s sixth on the team in goals (nine).

Thomas backAfter being sidelined for two weeks, but just four games because of postponements, center Robert Thomas was back in the lineup after battling an upper-body injury,.

Thomas centered a line with Ivan Barbashev and David Perron, though with 11 forwards, just about everybody played with everybody else at some point. Thomas played 14:42, including some on the power play, but had no shot attempts.

“He was OK,” Berube said. “He did some good things. He hung onto the puck at times and then there’s times he didn’t. When he’s hanging onto the puck and cutting back and doing all those things, he’s a dangerous player for us. It’s his first game back in a bit again. He’ll be better on Monday.”

Predictably, Kyle Clifford came out to make room for Thomas. Clifford played just 5:38 in the game Thursday.

From Russia . . .

Blues prospect Klim Kostin scored a power-play goal to tie the game and had an assist and then indirectly set up the game-winning goal as Avangard Omsk beat CSKA Moscow 4-3 in overtime to even the KHL’s Gagarin Cup championship series at 2-2.

Kostin’s third-period goal made it 2-2 and Avangard went up 3-2 before CSKA tied the game on a goal with just under 2 seconds left in regulation. In overtime, Kostin was in the penalty box for cross checking when his team scored a shorthanded goal 5:39 into sudden death for the win.

Game 5 of the series is Monday.

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