Confirming what many suspected, Alex Pietrangelo told reporters on Tuesday he suffered a bad knee sprain on a hit from Kings forward Dwight King during Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinal.
“I could feel something wrong,” Pietrangelo told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I went off and they re-evaluated it and realized there was more of an issue than I originally thought.”
While the Blues defenseman praised the training staff for getting him back into the mix — he only missed Game 2 and said he “got back to pretty good health,” — he clearly wasn’t his usual self.
Pietrangelo had just one assist and a minus-4 rating after the injury and was on the ice for six of L.A.’s seven goals in the final two contests.
St. Louis head coach Ken Hitchcock acknowledged Pietrangelo was hurting, but loaded him up with playing time anyway. “Petro” played 28:44 in the fourth and deciding game, the most of any player on either team (the next closest was fellow St. Louis defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who played five minutes less.)
“Playing at this time of year, my attitude is if you’re in, you’re in,” he said. “Now you might be in at 60 percent or 70 percent, like a guy like Petro was, but you’re still in the lineup.
“I’ve always felt that with certain players, 70 percent of the player is better than anybody you could put in. I think we proved that with Petro.”