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At the Rink blog

Suter back in for Predators

Monday, 01.23.2012 / 12:45 PM

By John Manasso - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

NASHVILLE -- Predators defenseman Ryan Suter will return to the lineup tonight when his team hosts the Columbus Blue Jackets, securing his ability to play in the 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game.

Suter, who ranks third in the League in average time on ice at 26:30, missed the last three games with an upper-body injury, potentially jeopardizing his ability to play in his first All-Star Game. However, that issue seems to have resolved itself.

"What I said before was if I don't play with my team before the All-Star break, then it's not fair to go and play in something like that," said Suter, who turned 27 on Saturday. "Hopefully, everything goes well in the next couple of days and go have fun."

Nashville coach Barry Trotz said Suter wanted to play in Saturday's 5-2 win against Chicago, but the team held him out as a precaution.

Suter's return comes at an opportune time for Nashville, as veteran defenseman Francis Bouillon is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Bouillon got hurt Saturday and did not return.

I've been getting frustrated lately, and the only thing keeping me sane was the team winning and other people stepping up and scoring. Then you just kind of let it go and realize you can end the series with one shot, that frustration goes away for a brief moment, and that's what happened.

— Montreal forward Max Pacioretty after scoring the series-winner in Game 4 -- his first career playoff goal -- to eliminate the Lightning and send the Canadiens into the second round