Originally written on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 10/21/14
Gettyimageproxy.ashx_requesturl_http_3a_2f_2fcache.gettyimages.com_2fxc_2f81651946.jpg_3fv_3d1_26c_3dewsasset_26k_3d2_26d_3d17a4ad9fdb9cf1932908f02533c04ffecfd6324c3de0b791
ST. LOUIS - Few teams in the NHL suffered as many key injuries as the St. Louis Blues did during the regular season. Saturday night in a 3-1 loss to the L.A. Kings in Game 1 of the second round, the Blues may have taken their biggest hit yet. Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, the Blues leader in ice time in both the regular season and playoffs, left with 1:13 to play in the second period after didn't return following a head first hit into the boards by the L.A. Kings' Dwight King. King was assessed a two-minute boarding penalty on the play after checking the 22-year-old from behind. Pietrangelo hit chin-first into the boards and fell to the ice, eventually skating off under his own power as a stream of blood dripped from his chin. The 6-3 Pietrangelo never returned for the third period and wasn't available for comment after the game. His status for Monday's Game 2 is up in the air with what coach Ken Hitchcock seemed to indicate was a possible concussion. "He's our key guy back there so it's tough to lose him," said defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. "Especially when you're down a goal in a game like that, you want to have all the offensive fire power you can back there and he's someone who we look to in those situations. It's tough not having him." The second-seeded Blues went on the power play following the hit with a chance to take the lead late in the second period. They instead suffered a disaster scenario, giving up a shorthanded goal to Matt Greene to enter the locker room trailing 2-1. The Blues were shorthanded for eight minutes in the third period, including a period of nearly six straight minutes as they attempted to overcome the loss of Pietrangelo and tie the game. They were unable to do so, giving up an empty netter late to drop Game 1 at home for the second straight series. "He controls the game," said Blues captain David Backes. "He's our best defenseman and probably our best player so if you're missing that, you're missing a lot. But we have other guys that need to step up and take more responsibility and get the job done." Of gaining a two-minute penalty while losing Pietrangelo for the remainder of the game and possibly longer, Backed added, "That's not a very good trade for us." Some thought the hit deserved more than a two-minute penalty, but it appeared Pietrangelo lost his balance just as the hit occurred. Referees apparently missed a cut on his lip, which would have automatically resulted in a five-minute major. "He got off the ice, there was no visible blood," said NHL supervisor of officiating Kay Whitmore. "If it was running down his forehead or his cheek, it's automatic. It's a major game-misconduct. In this instance, they didn't see it initially right away. "It was a hit, he was in a vulnerable position, but they didn't deem it violent enough to call a major." Pietrangelo was the fourth overall pick by the Blues in the 2008 draft. He made his NHL debut later that year at age 18, appearing in eight games and logging one point. Just four years later he's evolved into one of the top defenseman in the league at 22 years old. He was fifth among all defenseman with 51 points in the regular season, which was also good for third most on the Blues. He became the youngest player in club history to record back-to-back 40-point seasons and was the second defenseman in Blues history to have six game-winning goals and six power-play goals in the same season. The 6-3 Pietrangelo logged an eye-popping 26:15 per game in the first round against San Jose. He had three assists in the first round and took the shot Saturday that was deflected by Backes for the Blues first goal of the night. Safe to say the Blues would take a serious hit should the rising star not be able to play in Game 2 on Monday. "He's obviously one of our best players and you can't replace him," said forward Andy McDonald. "We're going to need guys to step up and elevate their play. I don't know his condition but if he can't play next game, we have to find a way to replace him." Added Hitchcock, "If he's not in, then somebody else gets to jump up. That's just the way it is in the playoffs. It's not a six-month season. It's a six-week season, so somebody will have to step up and elevate their game. That's what people do." The Blues did a remarkable job overcoming injuries in the regular season, finishing just two points shy of the President's Trophy despite missing more than 300 man games due to injury. Already trailing 1-0 in the best of seven series, the Blues' resolve might be put to the test yet again.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Ben Roethlisberger rips the media

Tim Tebow: Gators don't have offensive leadership, lack heart

Colts punter asks Antonio Brown not to kick him in face

NFL: Luke Kuechly should not have been ejected

Report: Okla. St. players fell asleep in drive-thru, arrested

Oscar Pistorius sentenced to five years in prison

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Mike Pettine considered benching Hoyer for Manziel

Percy Harvin speaks out: 'I'm not a perfect person'

Report: Kobe has prevented Lakers from signing top talent

Red Sox may be ready to move Yoenis Cespedes

Alleged details of War Machine's suicide letter released

Austin Davis says Rams security didn't recognize him

College football's post-Week 8 Playoff projection

Ortiz surprised military families with World Series tickets

NFL Power Rankings Week 7

Floyd Mayweather posts photo evidence of a lost bet

WATCH: Paul George takes court for first time since leg injury

Five most surprising NFL players through seven weeks

WATCH: Boxer viciously attacks referee at Euro Championships

WATCH: Salvador Perez hassles Lorenzo Cain at media session

Lane Kiffin trashed in Tennessee political ad

WATCH: Lawrence Timmons throws up on field during MNF

10 NBA players who could be traded by the All-Star break

WATCH: Jimbo Fisher gets annoyed, cuts interview short

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Ben Roethlisberger rips media

NFL Power Rankings Week 7

Pistorius sentenced to five years

Lane Kiffin trashed in political ad

Details of War Machine's suicide letter leaked

Angry Jimbo Fisher cuts off interview

Is Kobe's deal hurting the Lakers?

Tenn. coach tried to trip Ole Miss CB?

GGG continues his reign of terror

The 6 things that mattered this weekend in the premier league

News station congratulates Gary Payton for TD record

Ray Rice could be back by Week 10?

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.