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Jets at Blues preview: Lehtera ‘em in

The Blues injured forward returns after a twelve game absence.

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at St. Louis Blues Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

NOTE: Due to scheduling conflicts with tonight’s Cardinals game, the Blues will be aired on Fox Sports Midwest Plus and broadcast on KYKY 98.1 FM

I’ve already seen Blues Twitter, so I probably don’t have to go out on a limb and assume that people generally are not excited about the return of Jori Lehtera. The Blues have played perfectly fine during his absence - more than fine, in fact - which has cemented Lehtera’s place in the pantheon of Famous Blues Expendable Third Liners.

Nevertheless, he’s back in tonight after missing 12 games with a concussion. The lines to start tonight’s game against the Jets are these:

Forwards

Jaden Schwartz - Alexander Steen - Vladimir Tarasenko

Magnus Paajarvi - Patrik Berglund - David Perron

Jori Lehtera - Ivan Barbashev - Zach Sanford

Scottie Upshall - Kyle Brodziak - Ryan Reaves

Defense

Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo

Joel Edmundson - Colton Parayko

Petteri Lindbohm - Jordan Schmaltz

Goalie

Jake Allen

The Blues face a Jets team that has consistently had their number this season, but that was before the Blues went on their March tear of points. The team has points in 14 of their last 15 games and have firmly secured a playoff spot. They’re leading in the battle for third place in the Central Division, which would mean a matchup against the Minnesota Wild - a far more favorable first round opponent than the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Jets have recalled forwards Kyle Connor and Jack Roslovic from the Manitoba Moose for some NHL experience. That call-up doesn’t necessarily mean that the Jets are waiving the white flag right now, especially since neither will be in the line-up tonight. Despite not having a chance yet again to get their franchise’s first playoff win, the Jets have played well down the stretch, going 7-2-1 in their last nine games. They also have a ridiculous record of 17-8-2 against the Central. Both lines could be pointing to a “maybe next year” for the franchise. It’s certainly not this year.