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McDonald returning to Blues' lineup

by Louie Korac /

NASHVILLE -- The St. Louis Blues are adding. The Nashville Predators continue to subtract.

The game between the Central Division rivals Tuesday at Bridgestone Arena will see the Blues get back left wing Andy McDonald (flu) after the veteran missed the team's 1-0 win against the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday.

"Andy's going to play," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "That'll give us the 12 forwards that we designed for the last game, so same combination before he went down. We'll see how we look and see how it looks.

"If he doesn't have the energy, we'll just move [Chris] Porter into the left side during the game at some period of time."

The Blues take a four-game winning streak into their meeting with the Predators. A win would give St. Louis a season-best five-game win streak and continue to solidify their position among the Western Conference's top eight teams. The Blues sit in seventh place with 44 points.

Joining the Blues is 2011 second-round pick Dmitrij Jaskin, who skated with the team for the first time Tuesday morning but will not make his NHL debut against the Predators.

Hitchcock did say when the 20-year-old, who had 46 goals and 99 points playing for the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League this season, gets up to speed and can help the team, he won't hesitate to insert him into the lineup.

"He's got light feet, he's got great quickness in small spaces, shoots the puck ... he's as advertised," Hitchcock said of Jaskin. "You've got to see him in a hockey practice and then pour it into a game, but jeez, he looks like a great package. He's got size (6-foot-2, 196 pounds), he's got quickness, he's smooth with the puck.

"This is his first skate, but for a guy that's not skated for nine days and then coming and looking like that today is pretty impressive."

The Predators, who are dangling by a thread in the Western Conference race, 13th with 38 points, are missing a quartet of forwards (Mike Fisher, Paul Gaustad, Colin Wilson, Gabriel Bourque) because of injury. Add left wing Brandon Yip to the list of the wounded after he sustained a lower-body injury in Nashville's loss Sunday to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Predators recalled forward Daniel Bang under emergency conditions from the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League. Swedish-born Bang has eight goals and 12 assists in 50 games this season, his first in North America.

"Just like most of the Swedish players, he's well-versed on both sides of the puck," Predators coach Barry Trotz said of Bang. "I wouldn't say he's a gifted scorer, but he's a player who can get on you quickly with some speed. ... He'll get an opportunity [Tuesday] if we can get him in."

Nashville, which has eight games remaining and trails Detroit by five points for eighth place in the conference, does not expect any sympathy offerings from opponents down the stretch despite having to use 10 AHL call-ups in their lineup this season.

"It is what it is. Since I've been here, we haven't had so many injuries to one position," Trotz said. "We've been wiped out up front, but the state of our team is pretty good. ... We've got to play with a 'Predator spirit' in what we do and play with a relentlessness and a high work ethic, rely on our team game to get things done. And it's opportunity for both sides of the coin [for younger players]."

The projected lineups for the Blues and Predators on Tuesday:


David Perron - David Backes - Alexander Steen

Jaden Schwartz - Patrik Berglund - Chris Stewart

Andy McDonald - Vladimir Sobotka - Vladimir Tarasenko

Adam Cracknell - Chris Porter - Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo

Jordan Leopold - Kevin Shattenkirk

Barret Jackman - Roman Polak

Brian Elliott

Jake Allen

Scratched: Kris Russell, Ian Cole, Dmitrij Jaskin

Injured: T.J. Oshie (foot), Jaroslav Halak (groin), Scott Nichol (soreness), Jamie Langenbrunner (hip)


Taylor Beck - David Legwand - Patric Hornqvist

Rich Clune - Nick Spaling - Matt Halischuk

Sergei Kostitsyn - Austin Watson - Craig Smith

Bobby Butler - Chris Mueller - Daniel Bang

Roman Josi - Shea Weber

Victor Bartley - Kevin Klein

Hal Gill - Jonathon Blum

Pekka Rinne

Chris Mason

Injured: Paul Gaustad (upper body), Mike Fisher (upper body), Gabriel Bourque (upper body); Colin Wilson (upper body), Brandon Yip (lower body)

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