Despite the fact that he’s fourth among Blues forwards in points this postseason, Magnus Paajarvi will be scratched on Friday night.
The NHL postseason is perhaps the most harsh, unforgiving environment in professional sports, and especially after losses, serious consequences can be inflicted upon players who might not deserve them that much.
That’s the case today for St. Louis Blues winger Magnus Paajarvi. Paajarvi, who is fourth among Blues forwards in points this postseason, scored the game-winning goal in overtime of Game 5 against the Minnesota Wild, allowing the Blues to advance to the second round. After Vladimir Sobotka set up that goal, Paajarvi reciprocated in Wednesday night’s Game 1 against the Nashville Predators by setting up Sobotka’s game-tying goal in the third period of a game that the Blues would ultimately lose 4-3.
After that loss, Blues head coach Mike Yeo apparently felt the need to make changes. While he expressed full confidence in Paajarvi following Friday’s practice, he’ll sub in rookie forward Ivan Barbashev for Paajarvi for Friday night’s Game 2 against the Predators.
Barbashev himself was a casualty of the hostile postseason environment earlier this month. After playing on the top line between Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz for the first four games of the Blues’ series with the Wild, Barbashev was bumped down to the third line during Game 4, and he found himself as a healthy scratch for Game 5 as Paul Stastny and Jori Lehtera returned to the lineup.
This will be the first time that Paajarvi, who moved frequently between the ice and the press box for most of his Blues career, has sat out for a game since February 6. It’ll end a streak of 35 consecutive games played.