ST. LOUIS — Winger Matt D'Agostini, who has played in only three of the St. Louis Blues' nine games this season, was back in the lineup again Tuesday against Nashville.
What will it take for him to stay there?
"I think it's based on an earned basis," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said of D'Agostini, a 21-goal scorer in 2010-11. "He didn't have a good training camp and he's really picked up the pace. His training camp was drifty, in and out.
"His scrimmages were in and out and now he's really picked up the pace, so he's pulled himself into the mix here."
Hitchcock said D'Agostini, who scored a goal last Friday against Detroit, needs to remain aggressive.
"Based on his practices and leading into his last game, where he was a very good player, he's put himself in the mix here," Hitchcock said. "He's giving us choices right now, which is a really good sign."
Around the rink
* Blues lineup scratches Tuesday were forwards Ryan Reaves and Jaden Schwartz and defenseman Ian Cole.
*Don't expect the Blues' quick start to make the team forget all the hard work is takes to find the upper reaches of the Western Conference standings.
They got another painful lesson Tuesday when falling behind 5-0 against Central Division rival Nashville.
"Maybe it's something we've learned in the past," Blues forward Andy McDonald said. "Perhaps at times we let our highs get too high and we were too low when things weren't going well.
"We realize you've got to look at the big picture and realize what we're playing for -- and where we want our team game to be come April, May and in the playoffs."
Redden's veteran presence
It's apparent that a comfort factor exists between new Blues defenseman Wade Redden and Hitchcock. The pair have worked together before when both were with the Canadian national team.
"I think he's up to speed now," Hitchcock said. "If you throw away the flu that he went through, I think he's more than capable of being a good player for us."
Redden welcomed himself to St. Louis by scoring goals in two of his first three games.
"His ability to move the puck, his sense of timing, his awareness on the ice...he looks like he's up to speed to me right now," Hitchcock said. "He looks like a guy that you can trust in every situation."
That includes the power play, a role Redden once excelled at with the Ottawa Senators.
"We used him on the power play at practice (Monday) and he looked very comfortable there, so as we move forward we'll probably use him there, too," Hitchcock said.