The St. Louis Blues have staved off elimination for at least another few days, coming back to beat the Colorado Avalanche in overtime last night on a slapshot from Tyler Bozak. One of the more amazing statistics from that game is how heavily the Blues have leaned on just three defensemen, using Justin Faulk, Colton Parayko, and Nick Leddy in all situations. Marco Scandella and Robert Bortuzzo, two of the team’s more veteran options, played just 12:22 and 11:09 last night, while Niko Mikkola saw just over 16 minutes.
Part of that discrepancy between the top and bottom of the defense corps is because of Torey Krug’s absence, a player that would normally slide in with that top group and take on huge minutes. Krug hasn’t played since game three of the first round though, leaving the match against the Minnesota Wild with a lower-body injury after just six shifts.
Despite being back on the ice again today, Krug won’t be an option for the Blues tomorrow or in a potential game seven, according to Lou Korac of NHL.com. There is a chance he could return next series, though thinking that far ahead certainly isn’t really productive for St. Louis at this point. The team has a lot of work to do if they want to come back and take the series from Colorado, meaning Faulk, Parayko, and Leddy will need to carry the load a little longer.
There will be an eye on who actually enters the lineup behind them though. The team had been using seven defensemen and dressing both Calle Rosen and Scott Perunovich earlier in the series, the latter mostly for powerplay duty. With another do-or-die situation tomorrow night, head coach Craig Berube will have to decide which mix to use for the handful of minutes those depth spots are receiving.