The St. Louis Blues will be without some key players when they open a four-game road trip Tuesday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Blues placed forwards Ryan O’Reilly (broken foot) and Vladimir Tarasenko (hand) on injured reserve Monday after ending 2022 with a 5-2 home loss to the Minnesota Wild on Saturday.
O’Reilly will be re-evaluated in six weeks, while Tarasenko will be re-evaluated in four weeks. The Blues recalled forward Jake Neighbours from AHL affiliate Springfield.
“Injuries are part of the profession, part of the game,” Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said during a conference call. “Winning people and winning organizations don’t dwell on what they don’t have — they look forward to working with the things they do have. Guys who have been (wanting) more ice time are going to get it.”
Defenseman Torey Krug (lower-body injury) was already on injured reserve and will be re-evaluated in five weeks.
Toronto defeated the Colorado Avalanche 6-2 on Saturday at Denver to complete a 2-1 road trip that started Dec. 27 with a 5-4 victory at St. Louis on Willam Nylander’s overtime goal.
Toronto allowed only seven shots on goal in the third period against Colorado.
“I thought it was a cleaner game,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “We got contributions from all four lines, all six defensemen, got saves from (Matt Murray) when we needed them.
“It’s a good way to close out what feels like a long road trip, with the distance we travelled and three late flights to get into each city. It has been a challenge that way, and I like the way the guys got it done.”
Auston Matthews had a goal and assist Saturday to give him 499 career points in 444 NHL games.
“I’ve been fortunate to play on really good teams year after year and competitive teams,” Matthews said about approaching 500 points. “It’s not as much of an individual accomplishment as it is a team accomplishment.”
Calle Rosen and Robert Bortuzzo scored Saturday and Jordan Kyrou had two assists for the Blues as they completed a 1-1-1 homestand.
“Listen, we made too many mistakes (Saturday) to win the hockey game — end of story,” St. Louis coach Craig Berube said. “I thought we had a good first period, a lot of urgency. I thought we were skating. Then the second period, to me, we didn’t skate. We didn’t move the puck very well, we didn’t skate.”
Tarasenko was injured in the first period Saturday. He has played 34 games and is third on the Blues with 29 points (10 goals, 19 assists).
O’Reilly has played in all 37 games this season and has 10 goals and six assists.
Neighbours has one goal in 13 games with the Blues this season. He has seven goals and seven assists with Springfield.
Berube feels the Blues must improve offensively.
“Too many missed shots again, not driving the net hard enough offensively,” Berube said. “We had a lot of attempts. There’s a lot of times on our rush attack — we’re a good rush team — where we’ve got good numbers, but we need to penetrate the middle of the ice better. And we need to be putting pucks to the net more.”
Toronto defenseman Rasmus Sandin (neck) is expected to return Tuesday. The team loaned forward Joey Anderson to the Toronto Marlies of the AHL.
–Field Level Media