Just like in the first round, the St. Louis Blues dropped the series opener at home.
Unlike the first round, they have serious injury issues heading into Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Los Angeles Kings.
Top defenseman Alex Pietrangelo was not at practice Sunday, the morning after getting checked face-first into the boards by Dwight King in St. Louis' 3-1 loss. Though coach Ken Hitchcock did not rule out Pietrangelo for Monday night, he's decided on Ian Cole as a potential replacement.
Cole, a first-round pick in 2007, played 26 games in the regular season and would make his playoff debut.
Hitchcock said Pietrangelo is day to day with an upper body injury. He wasn't interested Sunday in the debate about whether King should have received a five-minute major instead of a two-minute boarding minor, given Pietrangelo's face was bleeding, and perhaps should be suspended.
"Why don't we leave that for the league?" Hitchcock said. "I'm more worried about Petro and our group. Everybody's made their comments, we've all seen the written stuff. Let's just let them comment. Let's move on to Game 2."
Pietrangelo, the fourth overall pick of the 2008 draft, is one of the NHL's top two-way threats and led the league in shifts per game while ranking among the leaders while logging nearly 25 minutes per game.
Changes for Capitals?
On the first off day of the Eastern Conference semifinals between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals, it was easy to see which club jumped out on top in the opener.
The top-seeded Rangers held an optional practice, a day after their 3-1 victory at home over seventh-seeded Washington. The Capitals had everyone on the ice at Madison Square Garden, and lined them up in quite a curious manner.
Alexander Semin, who had three goals for Washington in its first-round upset of defending Stanley Cup champion Boston, skated as a fourth-liner after he took two penalties in the series-opening loss to the Rangers. Semin was on a line with Mike Knuble and Keith Aucoin, but it might have just been a practice ploy by Capitals coach Dale Hunter and not a predictor of what might occur Monday night in Game 2.
- Associated Press