The St. Louis Blues will be without forward Ivan Barbashev on Sunday for Game 6 after being suspended one game for an illegal check to the head against Boston’s Marcus Johansson in Game 5. However, the St. Louis Blues may get a break, as there is a solid chance that rookie Robert Thomas may be ready to replace Barbashev in the lineup.
Thomas, who hasn’t played since Game 1 due to a wrist injury, was on the ice for a full practice Saturday with no limitations and St. Louis Blues interim coach Craig Berube later declared Thomas as a game-time decision for Sunday, according to NHL.com’s Lou Korac. The 19-year-old forward did participate in practices between Games 3 and 4, but was only a partial participant and spent most of his time on the ice working separately from the rest of the team. However, that wasn’t the case Saturday, according to teammate Pat Maroon: “He’s been working hard to get back in the lineup, so we’ll see tomorrow if he plays. Obviously, it’s always good to see the kid out there skating around. He’s been just itching to get back out there with the guys, so it’s good to see him out there.”
- NHL.com’s Tracey Myers adds that the St. Louis Blues expect star forward Vladimir Tarasenko to play on Sunday despite missing practice on Saturday after his wife gave birth to the couple’s third child on Friday. It was unlikely that Tarasenko would have missed a critical Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final; he has been a key to the team’s offensive success with 16 points in 24 playoff games.
- Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara spoke to the press for the first being hit in the jaw with the puck in Game 4. Although he looked uncomfortable speaking, Chara said he was fine and has no limitations when it comes to playing in Game 6 on Sunday. Chara did play in Game 5, although he only skated 16:42 and the Bruins felt the need to dress seven defensemen. Chara refused to answer when asked whether his jaw was broken.
- Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy also revealed that the team is expecting to be without Chris Wagner and Matt Grzelcyk for Game 6. Wagner, who hasn’t played since May 14 with an upper-body injury, is doubtful to play on Sunday, but is a possibility if Boston can force a Game 7. Grzelcyk has not yet been medically cleared to play after sustaining a concussion during Game 2.