ST. LOUIS -- The Blues are having a hard time choosing the right six defensemen to play in any game, so coach Mike Yeo will elect to play all seven for the third time this season, going with 11 forwards and seven defensemen when the Blues host the Minnesota Wild in a key Central Division battle Tuesday night.
The Blues (32-19-3), who have won six of eight and limited the opposition to one or fewer goals in each of those victories and their last seven wins have come allowing one goal or less, will move Robert Bortuzzo back into the lineup after making him a healthy scratch in Saturday's 1-0 win at Buffalo.
But it goes beyond just getting all seven d-men into the lineup, according to Yeo, whose team is 2-0 implementing this formation.
"We haven't played a lot of games in a bit of a stretch, it allows us to give our forwards some extra ice time," Yeo said. "They have some depth up front and so I think it allows us to use some players a little bit more than if we had 12 forwards.
"I think you look at last game, we put 'Gunny' [Carl Gunnarsson] in, there's no chance he's coming out after the game he played last time, 'Dunner's [Vince Dunn] got a role in the power play and 'Borts' [Robert Bortuzzo], his physicality and penalty killing, this gives us a chance to get him back in."
So in putting seven defensemen in, the Blues will have to remove a forward from the lineup, and rookie Tage Thompson is the odd-man out tonight.
Thompson, who's played the past 19 games, saw limited action in the game against the Sabres (played only one minute in the third period) and finished with 7 minutes 54 seconds of ice time.
"Some of the little things, when he's top of his game, he's playing with more pace, he's getting to the offensive zone," Yeo said of Thompson. "It seems like he hasn't been able to get to that type of game. His hands show up in certain areas, his skill shows up in certain areas. A lot of times right now, it's with his feet planted. He beats a guy but if you're not moving your feet you're going to be forced to beat the guy again, so it will be a conversation that we'll have with him here. He's just a young player that's learning his ropes in the league.
"... Guys that have played in the league for 10 years still have ups and downs. But he's certainly a young player that's still developing. Given the magnitude of the game tonight and the opponent, this is the lineup we chose tonight."