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St. Louis Blues pre-season starts

St. Louis Blues goaltender Colten Ellis, left, St. Louis Blues center Robert Thomas takes part in the Blues's first pre-season practice of the 2019-2020 season in the team's new training facility at the Centene Community Ice Center in Maryland Heights on Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. Photo by David Carson,

Forward Robert Thomas will sit out the Blues' game on Saturday with an unspecified upper body injury and Zach Sanford will step into his spot for their game with Dallas at Enterprise Center.

Coach Craig Berube said the injury was something that occurred in the season-opening game on Wednesday with Washington. Thomas didn't practice on Friday, though he did do on-ice work with trainer Ray Barile after practice. Berube said Thomas remains day-to-day.

Sanford was a scratch on opening night after a disappointing training camp.

“I'm pumped,” he said. “Obviously, as a lot of people know, I didn't have the camp I wanted to. It's that opportunity for me to get back in and get back to my game and find my spot.”

Sanford will play on the left wing on center Tyler Bozak's line, with Robby Fabbri, who was there on opening night, moving over to the right. The last time Sanford was in a situation like this, he came back into the lineup for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final when Oskar Sundqvist was suspended and had a point in four of the final five games.

“I think when I came in then I was playing fast, I was playing hard, finishing hits,” he said. “I think that's going to me job tonight. Play hard, play physical, don't think too much out there. Just go out and play.”

“Zach didn't have the camp he wanted,” Berube said, “and us too, we wanted him to be better than he was. He's ready to go and I think it's a good opportunity for him tonight to show us the old Zach Sanford that we saw last year in the playoffs.”


After being a scratch on opening day, Carl Gunnarsson is back in the lineup tonight, playing alongside Alex Pietrangelo. Robert Bortuzzo comes out.

"I would have wanted to be in last game, but that's just the way it is," Gunnarsson said. "I'll get my chance tonight and it will be fun."


The last time the Blues saw Dallas, in a game that counted, was in Game 7 of their Central Division final, with the Blues winning in overtime on their way to the Stanley Cup.

The Stars lost their opener, 2-1 to Boston in a game that saw three Stars get injured. Blake Comeau and Jason Dickinson were put on IR and the other, Roman Polak, is out for at least a week with a small fracture in his sternum. Two players in the Dallas lineup tonight, Nick Caamano and Rhett Gardner, will be making their NHL debuts.

"It's a lot of what we saw last year," Berube said. "They add (Joe) Pavelski to their team, (Andrej) Sekera on the back end is a puck-moving defenseman with skill. I think their scoring depth is better, adding Pavelski and Corey Perry's not playing tonight, but I think that's the reason those guys were added. They're a good team. They've got (John) Klingberg and (Miro) Heiskanen back and they're two elite defensemen that really, their team goes as those guys go, in my opinion. Great skaters that get up the ice and do so much and their goaltender's their goaltender (Ben Bishop). We all know how good he is."