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Blues' Brodziak will return against Predators

by Louie Korac / NHL.com

PREDATORS (18-12-6) at BLUES (22-12-4)

TV: NBCSN, SNO, SNP

ST. LOUIS -- Kyle Brodziak will return to the St. Louis Blues lineup against the Nashville Predators at Scottrade Center on Tuesday.

Brodziak will go back into his spot centering the fourth line. He missed the past five games because of a lower-body injury. Brodziak was cut above the right knee by the skate of Nashville defenseman Seth Jones in a 2-1 win against the Predators on Dec. 12.

"I feel good," Brodziak said. "Now it's going to be up to the coaches. As far as to how it reacted yesterday and how it felt this morning, it felt pretty good.

"I'm looking forward to it. Everyone knows it's not fun sitting out and watching. Hopefully I can get back in and continue to build my game and continue to build the team's game as we go along here. ... It's too tough of a league where you have to tip-toe your way in."

With Brodziak back and Patrik Berglund on the verge of returning from long-term injured reserve shoulder surgery on Aug. 25, the Blues placed veteran center Scott Gomez, 36, on waivers.

Gomez, who signed a one-year, two-way contract on Oct. 7, played on the Blues second power-play unit and centered the third line. He had eight points in his first 11 games but when he was relegated to the fourth line, he had no points the past 10 games.

"He was good early," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "When we went down quick with all those injuries when [Paul] Stastny went out, he was good early. But it's not fair for him to come and play a role he's never played before here. Hopefully somebody picks him up and he can play a top-six, top-nine role and have that support. With Brodziak back in and obviously Berglund coming back in, he's a player that would just be waiting for an injury and that can sometimes be a long wait."

Berglund was cleared for contact on Monday, and it's just a matter of time before he's activated.

The Predators, who defeated the New York Rangers 5-3 at home Monday, did not hold a morning skate. Only healthy scratches and backup goalie Carter Hutton were on the ice. It's expected goalie Pekka Rinne, who made 26 saves Monday, will play back-to-back nights for the second time this season. He's 0-5-2 his past seven road games.

Here are the projected lineups:

PREDATORS

Filip Forsberg - Mike Ribeiro - James Neal

Colin Wilson - Mike Fisher - Viktor Arvidsson

Austin Watson - Calle Jarnkrok - Craig Smith

Eric Nystrom - Paul Gaustad - Miikka Salomaki

Roman Josi - Shea Weber

Mattias Ekholm - Ryan Ellis

Barret Jackman - Seth Jones

Pekka Rinne

Carter Hutton

Injured: Gabriel Bourque (upper body)

Scratched: Cody Hodgson, Anthony Bitetto, Petter Granberg

BLUES

Magnus Paajarvi - Paul Stastny - Vladimir Tarasenko

Alexander Steen - David Backes - Troy Brouwer

Robby Fabbri - Jori Lehtera - Dmitrij Jaskin

Scottie Upshall/Jordan Caron - Kyle Brodziak - Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo

Colton Parayko - Kevin Shattenkirk

Carl Gunnarsson - Robert Bortuzzo

Jake Allen

Brian Elliott

Injured: Jaden Schwartz (ankle), Patrik Berglund (shoulder), Steve Ott (hamstring)

Scratched: Joel Edmundson

Status report: Hitchcock was undecided if Upshall or Caron would play on left wing. Edmundson will be a healthy scratch a third straight game. Hodgson, who played the first 35 games this season, will be a healthy scratch for a second consecutive game.

Who's hot: Forsberg has a five-game point streak (four goals, two assists). Ribeiro has a four-game point streak (one goal, seven assists). Wilson has four points in the past three games. ... Tarasenko has eight goals and six assists the past 12 games. Fabbri has a goal in three of the past four games.

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