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Preview: Red Wings at Blues

Justin Abdelkader will play for Detroit; Jori Lehtera returns for St. Louis

by Louie Korac / NHL.com Correspondent

RED WINGS (5-2-0) at BLUES (4-2-1)

8 p.m. ET; FS-MW, FS-D, NHL.TV

 

Red Wings team scope

Forward Justin Abdelkader will return to the lineup for the Detroit Red Wings after missing the past two games with a lower-body injury. Abdelkader was injured during a 5-3 victory against the Nashville Predators on Oct. 21. "I took part in the line rushes and it felt good," Abdelkader said after the morning skate. "It feels like a lot longer, but only two games so I feel good now. Hopefully I passed it." Right wing Steve Ott, who will play in his 800th NHL game, returns to St. Louis for the first time after spending the past two-plus seasons with the Blues. "I went out to dinner with a lot of the guys last night," Ott said. "It was a great to see them. We had a really, really tight team here and when you do that, you make friends for life. I have a bunch over there obviously, but today's the game day and [Wednesday] was the friendship day." The Red Wings are in search of their first six-game winning streak since Jan. 13-27, 2015. "We've played the type of hockey it takes to be successful," coach Jeff Blashill said. "We've managed the puck better coming out of our end. I think we've played to our identity, I think we've been relentless with our pressure, I think we've been fast with our transition, and I think we've been really competitive." Petr Mrazek will start in goal.

 

Blues team scope

The St. Louis Blues activated center Jori Lehtera off injured-reserve and he will be in the lineup after missing the past four games with concussion-like symptoms. "It's always tough when the boys were on the road trip and you're just by yourself laying on the couch," Lehtera said. "It's not fun. I'm really excited [to play]. ... Everything's good. I feel good." Coach Ken Hitchcock said Lehtera will skate with Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko. "We know the chemistry that he has with [Vladimir Tarasenko], which is a good sign," Hitchcock said. "Quite frankly, he was our best forward the way he was playing before he got hurt. Through exhibition games and through League play, this is the best he's played since he's been here. What we're getting is another good player back, which means we've added [Jaden] Schwartz, we've added Lehtera now." Jake Allen will start in goal. St. Louis has lost four in a row to the Red Wings on home ice, the past two in overtime.

 

Red Wings projected lineup

Gustav Nyquist -- Frans Nielsen -- Dylan Larkin

Tomas Tatar -- Henrik Zetterberg -- Riley Sheahan

Andreas Athanasiou -- Darren Helm -- Justin Abdelkader

Drew Miller -- Luke Glendening -- Steve Ott

Danny DeKeyser -- Mike Green

Jonathan Ericsson -- Alexey Marchenko

Brendan Smith -- Ryan Sproul

Petr Mrazek

Jimmy Howard

Scratched: Xavier Ouellet

Injured: Niklas Kronwall (knee), Tomas Jurco (back), Thomas Vanek (mid-body)

 

Blues projected lineup

Robby Fabbri -- Paul Stastny -- Alexander Steen

Jori Lehtera -- Jaden Schwartz -- Vladimir Tarasenko

David Perron -- Patrik Berglund -- Nail Yakupov

Dmitrij Jaskin -- Kyle Brodziak -- Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester -- Alex Pietrangelo

Robert Bortuzzo -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Joel Edmundson -- Colton Parayko

Jake Allen

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Scottie Upshall, Carl Gunnarsson, Ty Rattie

Injured: None

Status report

With Lehtera being activated, the Blues placed left wing Magnus Paajarvi on waivers. Lehtera will return to the second line and play left wing. Hitchcock said he likes the way Jaden Schwartz played center the past two games. Jaskin will drop off the third line and will take the fourth line spot vacated by Upshall, who will be scratched for the first time, and Perron moves off the second line and will play third-line left wing. ... With Abdelkader returning, Vanek was a late scratch for the Red Wings with a mid-body injury and is day to day.

 

Who's hot

Zetterberg has 26 goals, 42 assists in 63 games against St. Louis. Nyquist has three goals, two assists the past three games. Glendening has an assist in four of the past five games. Larkin scored his first two goals of the season the last game. ... Tarasenko has a two-game assist streak.

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