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Preview: Blues at Oilers

St. Louis forward Jaden Schwartz returns to lineup; Nail Yakupov to face former team for first time

by Derek Van Diest / Correspondent

BLUES (3-0-1) at OILERS (3-1-0)

9 p.m. ET; SNOL, FS-MW, NHL.TV


Blues team scope 

St. Louis Blues forward Jaden Schwartz will play his first game of the season after recovering from a hyperextended elbow sustained during practice on Sept. 29. "I got a couple of practices in and it feels good, so we've been looking at this date all along," Schwartz said. "There have been no setbacks and I'm obviously really excited to join the group again." Schwartz will play on the first line with center Alexander Steen and right wing Vladimir Tarasenko. He had eight goals and 14 assists in 33 games last season. "I'm just going to try and keep it simple early and get into the game," he said. "I'm playing with two good players to jump right into it. I'm excited to play with them and just get my feet wet right away, and then start to make plays after that." St. Louis has yet to lose a game in regulation this season. The Blues won their first three games before losing 2-1 in overtime to the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday in the first of a three-game Western Canada road trip. "This team is never satisfied," forward David Perron said. "That's the biggest thing, which is so impressive. We were 3-0 and the next day we had a meeting on what we needed to get better on. It's good, because it would be easy to sit back and say everything is going well."


Oilers team scope 

The Edmonton Oilers will face former teammate Nail Yakupov for the first time Thursday. Yakupov, selected No. 1 in the 2012 NHL Draft, was traded to St. Louis on Oct. 7 for prospect forward Zach Pochiro and a conditional third-round pick in the 2017 draft after playing five seasons in Edmonton. "It'll be a little different playing against him," center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. "I've known him since he started his career and I got to know him quite well, so seeing him in a different jersey will be a little weird tonight, but for his sake, I hope he does well." Yakupov was Edmonton's third successive No. 1 selection after Taylor Hall in 2010 and Nugent-Hopkins in 2011. "There were high expectations on him, different pressures and stuff, and for him, coming over from Russia too, it's definitely a big change coming to the NHL," Nugent-Hopkins said. "There are ups and downs in everybody's career and you try to manage those, and hopefully from now on, there are a lot of ups for him and I know everybody in here wishes him the best."


Blues projected lineup 

Jaden Schwartz -- Alexander Steen -- Vladimir Tarasenko

Robby Fabbri -- Paul Stastny -- Nail Yakupov

David Perron -- Patrik Berglund -- Dmitrij Jaskin

Scottie Upshall -- Kyle Brodziak -- Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester -- Alex Pietrangelo

Robert Bortuzzo -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Jake Allen

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Ty Rattie, Magnus Paajarvi

Injured: Jori Lehtera (upper body), Carl Gunnarsson (upper body)


Oilers projected lineup 

Milan Lucic -- Connor McDavid -- Jordan Eberle

Benoit Pouliot -- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Zack Kassian

Patrick Maroon -- Leon Draisaitl -- Anton Slepyshev

Tyler Pitlick -- Mark Letestu -- Anton Lander

Oscar Klefbom - Adam Larsson

Andrej Sekera -- Kris Russell

Darnell Nurse -- Eric Gryba

Cam Talbot

Laurent Brossoit

Scratched: Jesse Puljujarvi, Ben Betker

Injured: Drake Caggiula (hip), Brandon Davidson (upper body), Andrew Ference (hip), Mark Fayne (lower body), Jonas Gustavsson (head), Matt Hendricks (lower body), Iiro Pakarinen (knee)


Status report

Talbot will start a day after his wife gave birth to twins. He made 31 saves in a 3-2 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday. Gustavsson would likely have started in Talbot's place, but he sustained a head injury against the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday. The Oilers recalled Brossoit from Bakersfield of the American Hockey league to back up Talbot … Edmonton also called up Betker after placing Fayne on injured reserve. Fayne sustained a lower-body injury in the first period Tuesday against Carolina … Hitchcock said Gunnarsson is close to getting back in the lineup and could play as soon as Saturday at the Calgary Flames.


Who's hot

Eberle has three goals and two assists in his first four games. … Draisaitl has two goals and four assists in his first four games. … Steen has a goal and four assists in his first four games. … Tarasenko has four goals and two assists in his first four games.

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