The recent return of three injured Blues forwards forced head coach Ken Hitchcock to reshape his bottom two lines, and the results have been pleasing – at least until Tuesday night’s shutout against Edmonton.

For the third consecutive game, Vladimir Sobotka centered a line with David Perron and Vladimir Tarasenko, while Scott Nichol camped between Jaden Schwartz and Chris Porter.

In the two games before Tuesday’s shutout, the six combined for 19 of the Blues’ 63 shots on goal. Sobotka had the lone goal among the group, his career-high eighth of the season.

“Our third and fourth lines are playing as well, for me, as anybody in the National Hockey League,” Hitchcock said. “We’re getting a lot out of those third and fourth lines ... if you call Sobotka’s line a third line. In the two games, they’ve had 10 scoring chances. That’s more than hard work. They’ve got great communication going. We’re getting a lot of effort and a lot of great communication from both of those lines right now.”

The trade of Matt D’Agostini to New Jersey last week was a clear sign that the Blues are more than satisfied with the play of Porter. He contributed five of the group’s 19 shots the past two games in less than 18 minutes of ice time.

“I feel like we’re playing really well, not just killing time out there,” Porter said. “We’re creating offensive chances, creating a lot of energy on the bench. I feel like our line can play against anyone ... whether they put their first line or their fourth line, I feel like we can outwork and out-compete them.”