ST. LOUIS - The Blues will get Jori Lehtera back in the lineup tonight when they host the Arizona Coyotes at 7 p.m. at Scottrade Center (FSMW, KMOX).
With Lehtera’s return, the STL Line is also back.
“It’s a big add,” Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said. “It gives us three lines that can do a lot of damage. Three different dynamics, but three lines that can score regardless.”
Lehtera has been out of the lineup since suffering a concussion in the Jan. 29 game vs. Nashville. After practice today, Lehtera said he’s had about three consecutive good days without symptoms.
“There was a couple of really bad days, but then it got better,” Lehtera said. “It got better every day, so that was good for my mind. I feel I’m ready to go. I can’t lie in a bed anymore. I’m so excited to play.”
In 46 games this season, Lehtera has nine goals and 21 assists (30 points).
“Anytime you lose a top end centermen, from a first line to a fourth line - center is one of the hardest positions to play,” Steve Ott said. “You re-energize the lineup by getting a guy back that has the production he’s had this year. That STL line that’s been so special for us, it just gives us another threat.”
NO BIG DEAL
After getting a skate to the mouth and losing a tooth on Sunday, Blues forward Ryan Reaves had to get a root canal last night.
No big deal. Reaves will be in the lineup tonight.
“What’s a root canal going to do?” Reaves asked. “Everybody has bumps and bruises. This one just happened to be on my face this time. Just play through it, that’s hockey.”
Reaves was injured when Chicago’s Teuvo Teravainen’s skate hit him in the face, but Reaves admits it was practically his own fault.
“We’re both changing and (it was) me trying to get under somebody’s skin,” he said. “I try and trip him a little bit and put my stick down.
“He tripped a lot harder than I thought he was going to.”
The Coyotes come to town on an emotional high after taking a 3-2 shootout win last night at United Center in Chicago and have now won three consecutive games on the road.
The Blues and Coyotes have met twice this season, with both games being lopsided Blues victories. Jaden Schwartz had a hat trick in a 6-1 Blues win on Oct. 18, and David Backes scored four in a 6-0 win on Jan. 6.
“We’ve been able to take advantage on special teams,” Hitchcock said of those games. “We’ve not gotten beat by their power play, and our power play has stepped up and made great account of itself. It think that’s been the difference.”
Added Ott, “We’ve played these guys really well in two games so far, and tonight we look to do the same. They got in late last night (after the game) against Chicago, and a big emotional victory in overtime and tonight we have to make sure our game is in tact, along with our details.”
The Blues have points in eight straight games against the Coyotes, including four consecutive wins.
In games this season, the Blues have outscored Arizona 7-1 on special teams.
Hitchcock is one win shy of tying Dick Irvin (692) for fourth on the NHL’s all-time regular season wins list.