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Elliott returns to Blues, starts against Predators

by Robby Stanley / NHL.com

BLUES (22-11-3) at PREDATORS (23-9-3)

TV: TVA, FS-MW, FS-TN

NASHVILLE -- St. Louis Blues goaltender Brian Elliott has been activated from injured reserve and will play against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday. It will be his first game since Nov. 25.

Elliott sustained a lower-body injury that has kept him out of the Blues lineup for more than a month. He is 8-4-1 with a 1.82 goals-against average and .931 save percentage in 14 games.

"It's a game that Brian has to get into to get back into some type of playing rhythm," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "I think what we've done is buy some time. [Martin Brodeur] seems to have caught a second wind here, so that buys us even more time to get ourselves back on track where we were before with our goaltending."

Brodeur and Jake Allen have handled the goaltending duties for the Blues while Elliott was injured. The Blues will carry three goalies for at least the next two games.

"Jake will back up [Tuesday] and then Marty is going to play in one of the next two games, and then we'll see from there," Hitchcock said.

St. Louis defeated the Colorado Avalanche on Monday 3-0, with Brodeur earning the 125th shutout of his NHL career. Forward Chris Porter sustained a leg injury in the game and will be re-evaluated in six weeks.

Nashville lost 5-4 in a shootout Monday against the Chicago Blackhawks after jumping to a 3-0 lead. Chicago's net was empty with 1:13 remaining in regulation when Bryan Bickell scored to tie the game 4-4 and force overtime.

"It was a tough one," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "It was an emotional game. There was a lot of highs and lows. They're a good team; our guys went in there and we played good. It's unfortunate that you have a lead with a minute to go and they pull the [goalie] for an extra attacker. You see it all the time when you're on the NHL channel. You pull the goalie, somebody scores and it gets to a shootout or gets to overtime and you end up losing the game."

Nashville has won two of three games against St. Louis this season, including a 4-3 win Dec. 4. The third-place Blues are two points behind the Predators in the Central Division.

"We know we have to win," Predators forward Colin Wilson said. "We're playing a very good St. Louis team and they're close to us in the standings. These two games we knew were going to be tough, but we're going to do everything we can to win."

Here are the projected lineups:

BLUES

Alexander Steen - David Backes - T.J. Oshie

Dmitrij Jaskin - Jori Lehtera - Vladimir Tarasenko

Joakim Lindstrom - Paul Stastny - Ryan Reaves

Steve Ott - Patrik Berglund - Maxim Lapierre

Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo

Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk

Chris Butler - Ian Cole

Brian Elliott

Jake Allen

Scratched: Martin Brodeur

Injured: Chris Porter (leg), Jaden Schwartz (foot), Carl Gunnarsson (concussion)

PREDATORS

Filip Forsberg - Mike Ribeiro - Craig Smith

Colin Wilson - Mike Fisher - James Neal

Gabriel Bourque - Calle Jarnkrok - Olli Jokinen

Eric Nystrom - Paul Gaustad - Taylor Beck

Roman Josi - Shea Weber

Victor Bartley - Seth Jones

Mattias Ekholm - Ryan Ellis

Pekka Rinne

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Mark Arcobello, Matt Cullen

Injured: Anton Volchenkov (lower body)

Status report: St. Louis forward Magnus Paajarvi was assigned to the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League on Tuesday after clearing waivers. … The Predators acquired Arcobello from the Edmonton Oilers for forward Derek Roy on Monday. … Rinne will start after playing against Chicago on Monday.

Who's hot: Tarasenko has two goals in his past two games and leads St. Louis with 39 points. … Wilson has four goals and three assists in his past four games and was named the NHL's Second Star for the week ending Dec. 28.

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