The St. Louis Blues are limping into the postseason.
Already down the services of captain David Backes and 20-goal man Vladimir Tarasenko, the Blues lost another pair of forwards in Thursday’s loss to Minnesota: 1) T.J. Oshie, hurt on a nasty hit from Minnesota veteran Mike Rupp, and 2) Brenden Morrow, who took a shot off his foot during the morning skate and at first appeared OK — until he tried to partake in warmps and found himself unable to go.
More, from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
The Blues inserted Magnus Paajarvi as a late addition to the lineup in Morrow’s place. The Blues will likely have to tap into their American Hockey League affiliate for call-up help prior to tonight’s game against Dallas.
Morrow’s absence could prove significant. His 13 goals rank seventh on the team and his 25 points slot him ninth among forwards. He was signed to the roster as a free agent last summer to bring veteran experience and grit to the lineup, particularly for the playoffs. After playing in 71 regular-season games, Morrow may not get that opportunity now.
Two weeks ago, the Blues looked like runaway Central Division winner. But following a rough stretch which includes their current four-game losing streak, they’ve fallen to second in the division and are now staring at a possible first round matchup with the defending champs, Chicago.
The Minnesota Wild – St. Louis Blues game saw heightened animosity on Thursday night after Mike Rupp received a match penalty for this hit on T.J. Oshie:
Oshie struggled to get up after that hit, but on the bright side, the American forward was able to eventually leave (more or less) under his own power. There is no update yet regarding how injured Oshie may be.
Update: Here’s a vague update for Oshie:
Rupp, 34, hasn’t ever been suspended before in his NHL career, but the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo explains why a suspension could be imminent:
The St. Louis Blues ended up losing their fourth game in a row as the Wild won 4-2 tonight.
The red-hot Minnesota Wild made a pair of roster moves on Monday, losing one veteran presence while inching closer to the return of another.
Defenseman Keith Ballard has been placed on injured reserve, the club announced, while forward Mike Rupp has been activated and sent to AHL Iowa on a conditioning assignment. Rupp, 33, has yet to play for the Wild this year after recovering from an offseason knee injury and will suit up for Iowa in games Wednesday (vs. Chicago) and Friday (vs. San Antonio) before returning to the parent club.
The outlook for Ballard is not as clear.
The 31-year-old rearguard returned from a seven-game absence (concussion) on Nov. 1 and provided a spark almost immediately, racking up three points in his first two games back. He also logged a season-high 19:46 TOI in a 4-0 win over New Jersey on Nov. 3, only to suffer an upper-body injury not related to the concussion, missing games against Washington and Carolina last week.
All told, Ballard has now missed nine of Minnesota’s 18 games this year.
Even without Ballard in the lineup, the Wild have played extremely well as of late. They’ve suffered just one regulation loss in their last nine and have captured 15 of a possible 18 points.