Blues demote Perron for playoff-clinching game vs. Avs

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All the St. Louis Blues need from tonight’s game against Colorado is one point, and they’re in the playoffs.

To that end, head coach Ken Hitchcock’s icing a lineup similar to the one that lost to the Avs 5-3 on Sunday night, with one notable change — winger David Perron has been dropped from the first line to the fourth, and looks to be off the power-play entirely.

“I respect the decision and I’ll just go out and play hard tonight,” Perron told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Hopefully we can clinch tonight and go [in the playoffs in] the front door, and that’s all I’ll worry about.

“Nothing else.”

Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch reports Perron was skating with Adam Cracknell and Ryan Reaves on the bottom forward unit — rookie Jaden Schwartz was in his place on the top line next to David Backes and Alex Steen.

Perron had a costly turnover during Sunday’s loss, which led to Jamie McGinn’s tally that put made it 3-1 in favor of Colorado.

Clearly, Hitchcock hasn’t forgotten about it.

The Blues head coach abruptly answered questions about Perron’s demotion — “It’s part of the 12 [forwards], don’t read anything into it. OK, thanks,” — before walking off.

Perron’s had an erratic year. He started well, scoring 20 points in the first 26 games of the year, but has struggled as of late and only has five points (just one goal) since Mar. 19.

That scoring slump won’t be helped any if he is indeed off the power play. Rutherford reports that two sets of forwards were practicing with the man advantage today, and Perron wasn’t a part of either.