Banged-up Blues hit the road, face Maple Leafs

The St. Louis Blues will be without a few key players as they open a four-game road trip against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night.

The Blues placed forwards Ryan O’Reilly (broken foot) and Vladimir Tarasenko (hand) on injured reserve on Monday after ending 2022 with a 5-2 home loss to the Minnesota Wild on Saturday.

O’Reilly will be reevaluated in six weeks while Tarasenko will be reevaluated in four weeks. The Blues recalled forward Jake Neighbors from AHL affiliate Springfield.

“Injuries are part of the profession, part of the game,” Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said during a conference call. “Winners and successful organizations don’t dwell on what they don’t have – they look forward to working with what they do have.

Defenseman Torey Krug (lower body injury) was already on injured reserve and will be reevaluated in five weeks.

Toronto defeated the Colorado Avalanche 6-2 in Denver on Saturday, ending a 2-1 road trip that began on Dec. 27 with a 5-4 win in St. Louis through an overtime goal by Willam Nylander.

Toronto only allowed seven shots on goal in the third period against Colorado.

“I thought it would be a cleaner game,” said Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe. “We got input from all four lines, all six defenders, got saves from (Matt Murray) when we needed them.

“It’s a good way to wrap up a long road trip, with the distance we’ve traveled and three flights delayed to get to each city. It was a challenge and I like the way the guys did it. “

Auston Matthews had one goal and one assist Saturday, which earned him 499 career points in 444 NHL games.

“I’ve been fortunate to play on really good and competitive teams year after year,” Matthews said of approaching 500 points. “It’s less of an individual effort and more of a team effort.”

Calle Rosen and Robert Bortuzzo scored on Saturday and Jordan Kyrou had two assists for the Blues as they completed a 1-1-1 at home.

“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 going to skate. Then, in the second period, for me, we didn’t skate. We didn’t move the puck very well, we didn’t skate ran .”

Tarasenko injured himself in the first third on Saturday. He has played 34 games and is third for 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.

Neighbors have scored in 13 games with the Blues this season. He has seven goals and seven assists with Springfield.

Berube says the Blues need to improve offensively.

“Too many missed shots again, not going into the net offensively enough,” said Berube. “We had a lot of attempts. There are many times in our rush attack – we’re a good rush team – where we have good numbers, but we need to get into the middle of the ice better. And we need to get more pucks in the net.”

Toronto defenseman Rasmus Sandin (neck) is expected to return on Tuesday. The team loaned forward Joey Anderson to the Toronto Marlies of the AHL.

– Field level media

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