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After 12-game absence, Sobotka returns for Blues

Mar 13, 2014, 12:42 PM EDT

NEWARK, NJ - JANUARY 21: Vladimir Sobotka #17 of the St. Louis Blues takes the puck in the first period against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on January 21, 2014 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

The red-hot St. Louis Blues will get a key piece back for tonight’s game against Edmonton as Vladimir Sobotka will play for the first time since Jan. 31.

Sobotka, who has been on IR with a leg injury that kept him from representing the Czech Republic in Sochi, was on pace for a career year prior to getting hurt. He had seven goals and 25 points in 46 games — his career best is 29 points — and was averaging 16:31 TOI while sitting third among all Blues forwards in hits (87).

The Blues head into tonight’s action sitting first in the NHL with 95 points and, with Sobotka’s return, will be as healthy as they’ve been all season.

At this morning’s skate, Sobotka centered the second line between Vladimir Tarasenko and T.J. Oshie. David Backes was on the top unit between Jaden Schwartz and Alex Steen, while Derek Roy manned the middle on the third line with Steve Ott and Patrik Berglund.

St. Louis’ fourth line was Magnus Paajarvi-Maxim Lapierre-Ryan Reaves. Brenden Morrow and Chris Porter were the extras.

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