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Blues, Coyotes getting healthy before matchup

by Louie Korac

ST. LOUIS -- Both the Phoenix Coyotes and St. Louis Blues are expected to get injured players back into their lineups when they meet Thursday at Scottrade Center.

For the Coyotes, defenseman David Schlemko returns after missing 16 games with an upper-body injury suffered early in a Feb. 4 game against the Minnesota Wild.

"It's been a long five-and-a-half weeks, I think," Schlemko said after the Coyotes' morning skate. "I'm definitely excited to get back in there. I think you bag-skate for three weeks straight ... reminds you how much you love the game. It'll be exciting. Probably a little bit of nerves the first couple shifts. It'll be fun to be back in there."

The Coyotes, who have won back-to-back games since losing 6-3 to the Blues one week ago, also could get center Matthew Lombardi (upper-body) back Thursday.

"He's a good, solid, two-way player," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said of Schlemko. "He moves the puck well, plays in all situations ... penalty kill, power play. He's just a solid player for us. It's good to have him back."

The Blues, who lost right wing T.J. Oshie to an upper-body injury Tuesday in a 4-2 win against the San Jose Sharks, will get a boost themselves with the expected return of Alex Steen (upper body) after Steen was activated from injured reserve Thursday afternoon.

Steen missed eight games after sustaining an injury during practice. The Blues assigned forward Andrew Murray to the American Hockey League's Peoria Rivermen to open a roster spot.

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock wouldn't comment on a specific lineup during his morning briefing, only saying, "We'll take our lineup later in the day and let you know. We're like moment-to-moment, day-to-day. We'll see how she goes."

here are the projected lineups for the Coyotes and Blues:


Lauri Korpikoski - Martin Hanzal - Mikkel Boedker

Steve Sullivan - Antoine Vermette - Shane Doan

Rob Klinkhammer - Boyd Gordon - David Moss

Raffi Torres - Matthew Lombardi - Kyle Chipchura

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Rostislav Klesla

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris

David Schlemko - Michael Stone

Mike Smith

Jason LaBarbera

Scratched: Paul Bissonnette, Chris Summers.

Injured: Zbynek Michalek (lower body), Radim Vrbata (lower body)


Alex Steen - David Backes - Chris Stewart

David Perron - Patrik Berglund - Matt D'Agostini

Jaden Schwartz - Vladimir Sobotka - Chris Porter

Adam Cracknell - Scott Nichol - Ryan Reaves

Barret Jackman - Alex Pietrangelo

Wade Redden - Kevin Shattenkirk

Kris Russell - Roman Polak

Jake Allen

Jaroslav Halak

Scratched: Ian Cole, Brian Elliott.

Injured: Andy McDonald (knee), Vladimir Tarasenko (concussion), T.J. Oshie (upper body).

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