ST. PAUL, Minn. — Defenseman and team captain Alex Pietrangelo is back in the lineup, but Tyler Bozak is an injury scratch once again for the Blues, who play the Minnesota Wild at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Xcel Energy Center.
Pietrangelo missed Friday’s 5-1 victory over Dallas because he was sick.
“He should be good to go tonight,” coach Craig Berube.”He’s fine. He got some good rest yesterday and stuff so he’s good to go.”
With Pietrangelo back, he’ll be paired once again with Carl Gunnarsson. New Blue Marco Scandella stays with Colton Parayko, and Vince Dunn will be joined with Justin Faulk for the 18th time this season.
That means Robert Bortuzzo, who logged 18 minutes 19 seconds of ice time in Dallas — his second-highest total of the season — is a healthy scratch Sunday.
“He did a good job; I thought he was a good player (against Dallas),” Berube said of Bortuzzo. “He was physical and moved the puck well. Him and Dunn have chemistry together which is nice.”
Meanwhile, Bozak will miss his second consecutive game after sustaining a lower-body injury Thursday against Arizona. He was walking gingerly off the ice Sunday, but tested out the injury just before the team’s morning skate.
“He’s out again,” Berube said. “He just said he wanted to go and try it. I saw him out there and he didn’t look good, so I just said, ‘Go off.’ We got guys that are healthy, we don’t need him to go in there unhealthy and play.”
Berube said Bozak’s status is day-to-day.
With Bozak out again, Oskar Sundqvist once again will center the third line flanked by Alexander Steen and Jordan Kyrou. Sundqvist was held out of Sunday’s morning skate for maintenance purposes, but Berube said he will play tonight.
CALL OF THE WILD
Sunday marks only the fourth game for interim coach Dean Evason with Minnesota since Bruce Boudreau was fired on Valentine’s Day, but the Wild already have a different look to them.
“Everytime you play them it’s a hard game, physical,” Robert Thomas said. “They play really tight, they don’t give you much room out there. With their new coach we saw they’re forechecking really hard, they’re playing with a lot of speed, so that’s kind of what we’ll expect.”
Berube coached against Evason in the American Hockey League in 2016-17, when Berube was head coach of the Chicago Wolves and Evason was head coach of the Milwaukee Admirals.
“His teams are always very aggressive on the forecheck and try to play a fast, aggressive game,” Berube said.
The Blues have been getting more penalties than usual lately, so a key will be stopping Minnesota’s power play, which has the fourth-best home efficiency rate in the league at 27.6 percent.
“(Zach) Parise does a good job in front of the net, that’s the key right there,” Berube said. “He’s one of the better ones in the league at the net.
“(Ryan) Suter on the back end. A couple guys that can shoot it good — (Jared) Spurgeon and (Matt) Dumba both shoot the puck well from the back end. They got good one-timers. Eric Staal’s got a good one-timer, so they got some guys that can shoot. Suter’s run the power play for a long time in his career.”
Eleven of Parise’s 21 goals this season have come on the power play.
St. Louisan Luke Kunin, who has 13 goals and 14 assists in 59 games this season, is expected to miss tonight’s game with an upper-body injury sustained in the Wild’s game against Edmonton on Friday. Chosen No. 15 overall in the 2016 NHL draft, Kunin was one of five St. Louisans taken in the first round that year.
Also expected to be scratched Sunday for the Wild is defenseman Carson Soucy (upper-body).
WILD PROJECTED LINEUP
Vladimir Tarasenko took part in the morning skate Sunday, the fourth consecutive team skate and fifth overall he’s participated in as he ramps up his recovery/rehab from shoulder surgery.
• St. Louisan and former Blue Chris Butler will do analyst work alongside radio play-by-play announcer Chris Kerber for Sunday’s game. Normal analyst Joe Vitale is tending to family matters in St. Louis and did not make the trip.
• Veteran goalie Devan Dubnyk gets the start for the Wild. He’s 12-14-3 against the Blues in his career with a 2.96 goals-against average and a save percentage of .900. He started both games against the Blues earlier this season, stopping 25 of 29 shots in a 4-3 overtime loss on Nov. 2 in Minnesota and 24 of 26 in a 2-1 loss Oct. 30 in St. Louis.
• Scandella is celebrating his 30th birthday tonight. He spent seven seasons with the Wild and had dinner with several former teammates Saturday night.
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