Alex Pietrangelo is used to playing a lot - especially this time of year. The St. Louis Blues linchpin defenseman plays with a high motor and appears to have no issues piling up the ice time.
Pietrangelo is fourth overall in the playoffs averaging 30 minutes, 34 seconds, including more than 35 minutes in the Blues' overtime victory in Game 2 in Dallas on Sunday. Among the surviving eight teams, he's at the top of the list.
Several teammates believe Pietrangelo, the fourth overall pick in 2008, was the Blues' MVP in the first round. He was instrumental in holding down Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
The odds of Pietrangelo getting more extremely heavy duty would seem to be high, given the Stars and Blues have met seven times with four going to overtime and one decided in a shootout. He can be a calming influence, although inside he's going 100 mph.
Dallas has a bit of goalie intrigue. Coach Lindy Ruff yanked Kari Lehtonen after the Blues' three-goal first period in Game 2, and Antti Niemi finished strong, stopping 19 consecutive shots before Backes got the winner in overtime.
'I'll let you guys know (who's starting) about five minutes after warmup tomorrow,'' Ruff told reporters.