St. Louis Blues Look to Take Commanding Lead in Game 5 Against Minnesota Wild

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Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Blues’ Projected Lineup


Alexander Steen-David BackesT.J. Oshie

Jaden SchwartzJori LehteraVladimir Tarasenko

Dmitrij JaskinPaul StastnyPatrik Berglund

Chris PorterSteve OttRyan Reaves


Carl GunnarssonAlex Pietrangelo

Jay BouwmeesterZbynek Michalek

Barret JackmanKevin Shattenkirk

Goalie: Jake Allen

Scratches: Olli JokinenChris PorterTy RattieMarcel Goc, Robert BortuzzoChris Butler, Niklas Lundstrom

The Blues saw how beneficial it was to have Chris Porter, traditionally a very effective postseason player, in the lineup when they unleashed him for Game 4. Porter led the team with five hits, added an assist on Ryan Reaves‘ first period goal, and provided the most noticeable speed of any player on the Blues’ roster. He’ll almost surely remain in the lineup for Game 5 now that the Blues have rediscovered his worth.

It seems as if it’s about time to give up on the “#FreeBortuzzo” movement, as defenseman Robert Bortuzzo looks to be confined to the press box for the duration of this series. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s Jeremy Rutherford suggested on Wednesday that Bortuzzo may still be dealing with the effects of an injury suffered in the regular season, but on top of that, he’s a big and physical defensively-inclined defenseman who isn’t necessarily the greatest match for the Wild’s high-end skill and quickness. And despite the poor performance of numerous Blues defenseman, it’s not as if it would be easy for the Blues to take any of them out of the lineup without controversy. Jay Bouwmeester is one of the Blues’ most highly-paid players and once commanded a first-round pick; Zbynek Michalek was the prize of this year’s trade deadline dealings; Carl Gunnarsson was a major acquisition during the offseason (and actually has been one of the club’s better blueliners during this series); and Barret Jackman is the team’s longest-tenured player and has been pretty solid for the entire season. Bortuzzo may still see action in the playoffs, especially if the Blues are faced with a big, tough team like the Anaheim Ducks, but it’s unlikely that he’ll break into the lineup during the Minnesota series.

Next: Wild Projected Lineup