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Yashin returns after 16-game absence @NHL

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) -New York Islanders captain Alexei Yashin returned to the lineup Thursday night after missing 16 games with an injured right knee.

Yashin was eased back into the lineup, centering a line between Viktor Kozlov and Miroslav Satan. Once Yashin gets reacclimated, he is expected to rejoin New York's top line alongside Jason Blake and newly acquired Ryan Smyth.

He took his first shift since Jan. 30 about 2 1/2 minutes into the Islanders' game against the New York Rangers.

Richard Zednik, acquired last week from Washington to bolster the Islanders offense, was a healthy scratch to make room for Yashin. Zednik has only one assist in his first four games with New York and has seen his ice time drop from 19 minutes, 13 seconds in his debut to 12:46 against the Rangers on Monday in the first half of the back-to-back series.

Yashin sprained his knee on Nov. 25 against Washington and missed the next eight games. He scored in the first two games upon returning but then had only one more goal in the next 18 games.

The injury curtailed a strong start for the enigmatic Yashin, who had 10 goals and 18 assists in his first 22 games this season.

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