St. Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - St. Louis Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock said on Tuesday that he expects all of his currently injured players to return to action by the end of the first round of the playoffs.
Once front-runners for the Presidents' Trophy, the Blues stumbled through the end of the regular season with six consecutive losses and nine in their last 14 to fall out of first place and into second in the Central Division.
Forwards T.J. Oshie (concussion) and Brenden Morrow (foot), along with defensemen Alex Pietrangelo (undisclosed) and Barret Jackman (lower body) took part in a skating session. In addition, forwards David Backes (lower body), Vladimir Sobotka (undisclosed) and Patrik Berglund (shoulder), are expected to take part in a Wednesday full practice after missing out on Tuesday.
Hitchcock also believes that Vladimir Tarasenko, who underwent right hand surgery in mid-March but had his cast removed on Monday, will also be available to play if the series progresses near its limit. Game 7 is scheduled for April 29, two weeks from Tuesday.
St. Louis opens up the postseason at home on Thursday night against the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.