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Blackhawks set to get Hossa back against Blues

by Dan Rosen

BLUES (18-14-2) at BLACKHAWKS (27-5-3)


Last 10: St. Louis 5-5-0; Chicago 6-4-0

Season series: This is the third of five meetings between the Central Division rivals. Chicago is 2-0 against St. Louis this season.

Big story: Marian Hossa will return to the Blackhawks' lineup Thursday against the Blues. Hossa has missed the past six games with an upper-body injury. Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester is expected to make his Blues' debut provided he gets his work visa issues ironed out. He was acquired Monday night from the Calgary Flames.

Team Scope:

Blues: The beefed-up Blues defense will be on full display for the first time with Bouwmeester joining the lineup. Jordan Leopold played his first game as a Blue on Monday in a 4-1 win over the Minnesota Wild.

The Blues were relatively quiet on deadline day, save for shipping Wade Redden to the Boston Bruins, mainly because general manager Doug Armstrong did his dealing Sunday and Monday by acquiring both Leopold and Bouwmeester for draft picks and middle-tier prospects.

St. Louis snapped a three-game losing streak with that win over the Wild.

Brian Elliott will get the start in net against the Blackhawks. Elliott made 20 saves in relief of Jaroslav Halak on Monday. Halak injured his groin and will be out a while. Jake Allen was recalled after Halak's injury.

Blackhawks: Hossa plans on being back after missing six straight games. He should be reunited with linemates Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad.

"I felt good today so there's no reason to wait any longer," Hossa told reporters in Chicago on Wednesday. "I think I'm ready to go."

The Blackhawks have won two straight since losing to the Anaheim Ducks, 2-1, last Friday. They're coming off a 3-2 shootout win over the Nashville Predators on Monday.

Chicago should also have newly acquired center Michal Handzus in the lineup against the Blues. He was acquired earlier this week in a deal with the San Jose Sharks.

Patrick Sharp will miss his 12th straight game with a shoulder injury. Corey Crawford is expected to start in goal.

Who's hot: For the Blues, Jaden Schwartz and Andy McDonald each had two points in the win over the Wild. … For the Blackhawks, Toews has four points in the past two games, including three in a 7-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday. Saad also has four points, including three goals, in the past two games. The rookie forward now has now has 20 points in 34 games this season.

Injury report: For the Blues, T.J. Oshie (bruised left foot) and Halak (groin) are both on injured reserve. … For the Blackhawks, Sharp (shoulder) remains out. Patrick Kane missed practice Wednesday with an illness, but he's expected to play Thursday.

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