Scottrade Center has been friendly to the Blues so far this season; with two wins opening up a five-game homestand earlier in the week, the Note improved its home record to 10-1-2 on the year. Early season scoring woes are well in the rear view mirror, as the Blues have scored three or more goals in eight straight games.
While the Blues are humming along, they have done in so in recent weeks without a player who Ken Hitchcock has described in the past as the team’s best all-around talent. Thursday, Alexander Steen was a full participant in the Blues’ morning skate, and according to Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, he will return to game-action against the Lightning Thursday evening at Scottrade.
In Steen’s absence, the Blues went 5-1 in six games and found great success with the line combinations, which is always a fickle matter for Hitchcock. A healthy Steen obviously isn’t a player you leave out of the lineup, so Hitchcock will have to find a way to tweak a system that has been meshing seamlessly.
To keep the red-hot Jaden Schwartz-Paul Stastny-David Perron line together, Steen will re-enter the lineup centering Vladimir Tarasenko and Robby Fabbri. That moves Jori Lehtera to the third line, potentially giving Tarasenko a more productive center to skate with, as Blues fans have clamored for of late. Lehtera will center Patrik Berglund and Dmitrij Jaskin on the third line, as that trio seeks to break out of an offensive slump.
Jake Allen will be in goal for the Blues Thursday night, with Ty Rattie and Nail Yakupov sitting out as healthy scratches.
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