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Schwartz back for Blues, will replace Backes on top line


James OBrien

After missing two games with an undisclosed muscle injury, St. Louis’ Jaden Schwartz will be in the lineup tonight when the Blues take on the Habs.

What’s more, he’s getting a crack at first-line minutes.

Schwartz will replace David Backes (upper-body) on the Alex Steen-T.J. Oshie line, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Schwartz is a good fit given his offensive flair (eight goals 22 points in 31 games) and the fact he played with Steen during last year’s playoff series against L.A.

“I’m excited to play with those two,” Schwartz told the Post-Dispatch. “I’ve played with them before, so I’m a little bit familiar. They work hard and I want to add to that and obviously be responsible defensively.

“But I want to create offense as much as I can, and read off of them. I’m excited and hopefully they are, too.”

Backes -- who’ll miss his second straight -- isn’t the only Blues forward out tonight. Vladimir Sobotka is still dealing with an upper-body injury and is only “50 percent of where he needs to be,” according to head coach Ken Hitchcock.

Related: Steen agrees to extension with Blues — three years, $17.4 million