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Barry Trotz explains why Jakub Vrana is a healthy scratch in Colorado but will he listen?

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Barry Trotz explains why Jakub Vrana is a healthy scratch in Colorado but will he listen?

Jakub Vrana will sit out Thursday’s game in Colorado as a healthy scratch, Coach Barry Trotz told reporters after the morning skate.

It’ll mark the first game this season Vrana has missed, but the move isn’t all that surprising given the 21-year-old winger’s recent struggles. Vrana has just one point in the last seven games—and it came on an empty net goal vs. the Penguins.

“He’s a good young player and I think he’s going to have a really good career,” Trotz said. “[But] just like all young players, there’s a difference between being involved and just participating.”

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“Right now,” Trotz added, “I feel like as a young player—and it’s a grind in this league—that he’s in that participation mode rather than involvement mode.”

Vrana made the 23-man roster out of camp and put up some numbers out of the gate while skating on Alex Ovechkin’s line, amassing two goals and three assists in the first six games. Since that strong start, however, the winger has gone a bit dry as he’s bounced around the lineup. Over the last 13 contests, in fact, he’s got only two goals and no assists, despite also being deployed on the second unit power play.  

“We’re going to talk,” Trotz said. “I have full confidence that he’s getting the message that it’s important to be there every night in terms of involvement. That’s where his production will come about. You have to earn your ice time, and this is a teaching moment for him.”

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With Vrana out against the Avalanche, Trotz said it’s possible that Brett Connolly will be promoted to the third line with Lars Eller and Tom Wilson. Trotz, however, also hinted that he “might throw the lines all in flux today just to catch everybody’s attention.”

The big question now, though, is whether Trotz has Vrana’s attention.

“For any young player, sometimes the hardest thing in this league—once you make it—is staying in it,” Trotz said. “And I think he felt a little comfortable. So he’s going to see how the thin air in Colorado is going to affect his [post morning skate] work out today.”

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NHL Playoff 2019 Roundup: Blues shutout Sharks 5-0 to win Game 5

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NHL Playoff 2019 Roundup: Blues shutout Sharks 5-0 to win Game 5

The St. Louis Blues won a decisive Game 5 against the San Jose Sharks 5-0, pushing the Sharks to the brink of elimination.

The Blues are now one win away from their first Stanley Cup Final since the 1969-70 season, where they lost to the Boston Bruins in a sweep.

St. Louis started the scoring early when Oskar Sundqvist netted his second goal of the series in the first five minutes of the game. 

Jaden Schwartz then tallied his first goal of the game off a juicy rebound in front of Martin Jones to start the scoring in the second period. It was Schwartz's 10th goal of the playoffs, which tied him for third all-time in Blues history for goals in the postseason.

Vladimir Tarasenko added to the Blues lead off a penalty shot. He's the first player in Blues franchise history to score a penalty shot goal in the playoffs.

Schwartz then added two more goals in the third period for a hat-trick. The first came on a 5-on-3 power play advantage off a scramble in front of the net, and the second came from a backdoor one-timer pass from Tarasenko.

Schwartz now has 12 goals these playoffs, and it's his second hat-trick of the playoffs.

Blues goalie Jordan Binnington recorded 21 saves for a shutout, and he's the first rookie goalie to accomplish that feat for the Blues.

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NHL Playoff 2019 Roundup: Blues pull even with Sharks with 2-1 win

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NHL Playoff 2019 Roundup: Blues pull even with Sharks with 2-1 win

The St. Louis Blues' two-goal first period powered them to a win over the San Jose Sharks, and the series is now tied.

The Blues started with a goal 35 seconds into the game. Ivan Barbashev picked off a Brent Burns exit pass and flung it towards the net for the games opening goal. 

Barbashev is the second Blues player to score in the first minute of a game these playoffs. Jaden Schwartz is the other player.

Tyler Bozak scored the game-winning goal for the Blues on a power play off a scramble in front of the net.

The Sharks responded when Thomas Hertl poked the puck past the goal line after Jordan Binnington thought he had the puck covered. Hertl now has 10 goals this postseason for the Sharks, and the team now features 10 or more players to score 10+ goals in the playoffs for the second time in franchise history.

Binnington's 29 save performance gave him his 10th win of the playoffs, the most of any Blues goaltender in franchise history.

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