Carl Gunnarsson did not practice Friday, so it looks like the Blues will shuffle their defensive pairings when they return to action Saturday against the visiting Montreal Canadiens.
Gunnarsson did not play over the final 6 minutes 54 seconds of regulation, or in overtime, in the Blues’ 4-3 shootout loss to Vancouver on Thursday.
“He’s day-to-day right now,” coach Craig Berube said. “Lower-body.”
Gunnarsson has appeared in five of the Blues’ seven games this season, and has been paired with captain Alex Pietrangelo each time.
Without Gunnarsson, Colton Parayko was paired with Pietrangelo in practice Friday, which meant splitting up the Jay Bouwmeester-Parayko duo which has been the Blues’ shutdown pairing since early January of last season.
Like Pietrangelo, Parayko is a right-hander; it was Parayko playing on his off side (left side) in practice.
“He’s such a good skater,” Berube said of Parayko. “He does wheel that way a lot in games, so we gotta find somebody that can fit over there at times in situations like this.”
SIGNS POINT TO ALLEN
When asked who starts in goal Saturday against Montreal, Berube laughed and replied: “Wait till game time.”
But all signs pointed to Jake Allen getting his second start of the season. Allen was off the ice quickly following Friday’s practice at Centene Community Ice Center. Meanwhile, Jordan Binnington stayed late getting extra work. If you’re starting the next day, you usually don’t get in extra work after practice like that.
Binnington allowed five goals against the Canadiens on Oct. 12 in a 6-3 Blues defeat, the most he’s allowed in a regular-season game as a member of the Blues.
AFTERNOON PUCK DROP
For the second time in six days, the Blues will play an afternoon game, with Saturday’s contest at Enterprise Center starting shortly after 2 p.m.
“I don’t mind ‘em,” Berube said. “It’s just about being prepared to go. Our guys, just doing a little bit extra in the mornings to get yourself ready to go.”
Without a morning skate because of the afternoon start, the players have to get ready on their own, whether it's more stretching, mental preparation, or individual work in the stadium hallways.
“Once that puck drops it’s on,” Berube said. “We don’t want to be waiting 10 minutes to get into the game. We want to start on time. That’ll be important for sure tomorrow against Montreal. They’re playing well. They won (Thursday) night again. So it’ll be a tough game.”
LUNCH IN D.C.
As usual, defenseman Justin Faulk didn’t take part in the Blues’ White House ceremony Tuesday commemorating their Stanley Cup championship with President Donald J. Trump. Faulk was with the Carolina Hurricanes last year, so he has not attended any of the Blues’ Cup-related festivities since the late-September trade brought him to St. Louis.
So where was he while the Blues were in the Rose Garden?
“I went to grab lunch, simply put,” Faulk said. “I think I had a tuna rice cake. It’s almost like a crispy hash brown in a sense. And then I think I had like a pastrami _ no, I don’t think it was pastrami. But some sort of sandwich, like a roast beef.
“It was not too far from the hotel, and hung out there. Marc Savard and I took the cab to the airport and met the team.”
Savard, an assistant coach, also was not with the Blues last season.