A banged-up depth line for the St. Louis Blues will likely get one of its members back for tonight’s game against the Phoenix Coyotes. After missing eight games with a shoulder injury, forward Alex Steen is expected to be back on the ice tonight. His linemates Vladimir Tarasenko and Andy McDonald are still out and there doesn’t seem any definite timetable for their return. The Blues sent Andrew Murray down to the Peoria Rivermen of the AHL to make room for Steen.
Steen’s return will be a great boost for an offense that already averages three goals per game. Steen had four goals and 16 points in 18 games before getting injured, and could join Chris Stewart and David Backes on the Blues’ current second line. The Blues have won three of their last four games, all with rookie goaltender Jake Allen between the pipes. The team seems to be responding better when Allen starts, and that makes him the likely starter for tonight’s contest. Jaroslav Halak was in goal for a 4-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday and struggled despite only facing 21 shots.
Steen has now been with the Blues for five years and has twice been a 20-goal scorer. He has seven points on the power play this season and has been a consistent threat with the man-advantage throughout his career. The Blues have gotten some production from Jaden Schwartz when the rookie has seen time on the top two lines, but they still need more from him, especially with T.J. Oshie out with an upper body injury. As the Blues continue to try and hold on to a playoff spot, getting Steen back certainly helps that quest.