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Forward Helm returns for Red Wings

by Staff

Detroit Red Wings center Darren Helm will return to the lineup Monday against the St. Louis Blues.

Helm had been sidelined by a groin injury. He missed 11 games and played Dec. 30 against the Nashville Predators before sitting out another seven.

"I've felt good the last couple of days," Helm said following the morning skate. "I've skated hard, no problems, so tonight's the next test.

"I'm just going to try and do what I did last time and the time before that, just play my game. There's nothing special I need to do, just make sure I'm taking short shifts. I'm going to be a little rusty out there so I can't be doing too much."

Helm has seven goals and 11 points in 16 games.

"Obviously, he hasn't played in a long time," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "I don't know if it's going to take him some time or not. When he's going he's a real impactful player for us. I don't know how many minutes he can handle tonight but it's good to have him back."

With Helm's return, the Red Wings are gradually getting healthier. Goalie Jonas Gustavsson (groin) continues to practice and expects to return this week while defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (broken ribs) skated and hopes to be back Wednesday against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Red Wings would like to reverse their fortunes on home ice. A 3-2 shootout win against the Los Angeles Kings was Detroit's second win in nine games at Joe Louis Arena, where it is 7-10-7. Jimmy Howard, a winner of two of his past three games while stopping a combined 121 shots, gets the start in goal.

Although the Blues have enjoyed success on the road with points in nine of their past 10 games (7-1-2), they've lost three of their past four overall after a season-high seven-game winning streak. Despite the recent slide, St. Louis is near the top of the NHL in offense (3.4 goals per game) and defense (2.2 goals allowed per game).

"All these teams we're playing right now are very good teams, high-end teams. No different than L.A., Chicago," Babcock said. "They're a test for our young group, for sure. This should be a competitive game, lots of fun. Whether it turns out right or not, we're going to compete hard."

Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko (flu) didn't skate Monday morning and is questionable.

Here are the projected lineups for the Red Wings and Blues:


Alex Steen - David Backes - Jaden Schwartz

Vladimir Sobotka - Patrik Berglund - T.J. Oshie

Brenden Morrow - Adam Cracknell - Ryan Reaves

Magnus Paajarvi - Derek Roy - Chris Stewart

Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo

Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk

Jordan Leopold - Roman Polak

Jaroslav Halak

Brian Elliott

Scratched: Carlo Colaiacovo, Adam Cracknell, Ian Cole

Injured: Maxim Lapierre (lower body), Vladimir Tarasenko (flu)


Gustav Nyquist - Henrik Zetterberg - Justin Abdelkader

Tomas Jurco - Riley Sheahan - Todd Bertuzzi

Tomas Tatar - Darren Helm - Drew Miller

Daniel Cleary - Luke Glendening - Patrick Eaves

Niklas Kronwall - Brendan Smith

Kyle Quincey - Danny DeKeyser

Brian Lashoff - Jakub Kindl

Jimmy Howard

Petr Mrazek

Scratched: Mikael Samuelsson, Joakim Andersson

Injured: Cory Emmerton (hand), Pavel Datsyuk (lower body), Daniel Alfredsson (back), Johan Franzen (concussion), Stephen Weiss (hernia), Jonas Gustavsson (groin), Jonathan Ericsson (ribs)

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