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Wednesday, April 9

Updated: April 9, 11:34 PM ET

Demitra expected back for start of playoffs

Associated Press

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Pavol Demitra returned to St. Louis on Wednesday morning for the birth of his first child, but the Blues' leading scorer is expected back for the start of the playoffs.

Demitra, who had 36 goals and 93 points this season, flew home on a private plane to be with his wife, Maja Duharava, who wasn't due for another couple of weeks.

The Blues open their first-round series against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.

"Barring any complications with the baby or his wife, he'll be back in Vancouver to play Game 1," Frank Buonomo, the Blues director of communications, said.

The Canucks were also dealing with the loss of a player on Wednesday. Vancouver center Mats Lindgren left practice early due to soreness in his back that forced him to miss nine of the final 10 regular-season games.

Vancouver recalled rookie Brandon Reid as a precaution. Reid, a speedy 5-foot-9 center, had two goals and three assists in his first seven NHL games late in the regular season.
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