Sunday wasn’t the greatest night for the St. Louis Blues, as they were shut out 3-0 by the Anaheim Ducks and got off to a very slow start offensively, registering only four shots on goal in the first period. But on the bright side, Blues nation got to witness what will hopefully be the start of a long, productive career with the NHL debut of defenseman Petteri Lindbohm. The Finnish import was recalled from the AHL Chicago Wolves yesterday and was inserted into the lineup immediately, with coach Ken Hitchcock making it a point to get the rookie some experience.
The 21-year-old defenseman was pressed into action early, as Lindbohm was on the ice for the Ducks’ only regulation goal, tasked with trying to shut down Matt Belesky in front of the net after forwards Patrik Berglund and Magnus Paajarvi let Belesky cross the blueline without any trouble. He gained confidence quickly, though, and soon enough Lindbohm was making his presence felt.
The 6-foot-3, 198-pounder obviously was not afraid to get physical. He was credited for two hits, and he got in a scrum with the Ducks’ Rickard Rakell over by the net as things got heated between the two sides. Lindbohm also showed an ability to contribute on the offensive end of the ice, leading the Blues with four shots on goal on a night where they only finished with 28 total.
It’s possible that Lindbohm will be returned to Chicago before the Blues play their next game against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday. They’ll be in St. Louis for the next few days, and Carl Gunnarsson may be recovered from his hip injury and ready for game action by the time the Blues face Vancouver. With that said, the Wolves don’t play their next game until Friday, so it would not be at all detrimental for Lindbohm to get a few days to practice with the NHL club and continue making an impression on the coaching staff.
Unless the Blues are able to move a guy like Jordan Leopold or Ian Cole in a trade, Lindbohm probably isn’t going to be able to work his way into the lineup regularly until someone suffers an injury. But when he does, he should be a valuable contributor if he continues performing the way he did on Sunday night.