St. Louis Blues forward Klim Kostin, left, gets tangled with Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Dean Kukan during the second period of a preseason NHL hockey game in Columbus, Ohio, Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)
GLENDALE, Ariz. – Even though Klim Kostin wasn’t in the Blues’ opening-day lineup Saturday in Colorado, coach Craig Berube said he wanted to get the big winger in some games.
Berube wasn’t kidding. Kostin will make his season debut Monday night in Game 2 of the Blues’ season against the Arizona Coyotes. Puck drop is 9 p.m. Central.
“He’s a big guy,” Berube said. “We need him on the forecheck. Being physical. Getting to the net. Using his shot. Being a power forward; I think that’s what his game’s gonna be. And then be responsible defensively.“
With Kostin in, veteran James Neal is a healthy scratch. The change affects two lines; Kostin will open on the fourth line on right wing, with Tyler Bozak at center and rookie Jake Neighbours on left wing.
Ivan Barbashev, who was on the fourth line against Colorado, moves up to the third line tonight where he’ll play left wing, with Robert Thomas at center and Vladimir Tarasenko at right wing.
“I know that (third) line probably wasn’t as good as it should have been in the (Colorado) game,” Berube said. “But that’s not the reason that (Neal’s) out.
“I don’t want guys sitting…