Ryan Suter returns to Nashville lineup tonight

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The good life just got better for the Nashville Predators.

Winners of two straight and eight of their last 10, the Preds will welcome back All-Star defenseman Ryan Suter tonight as they face Columbus. Suter, who ranks third in the NHL in average TOI (26:30) has missed the last three games with an upper-body injury and while the Preds have played well without him — posting a 2-1 record and a big 5-2 win over Chicago on Saturday — they’ll be pleased to get him back.

The news also means Suter will likely participate in the 2012 NHL All-Star game in Ottawa, though he was quick to point out it wasn’t a guarantee.

“What I said before was if I don’t play with my team before the All-Star break, then it’s not fair to go and play in something like that,” Suter told NHL.com. “Hopefully, everything goes well in the next couple of days and go have fun.”

Suter’s return comes at a key time as the Predators lost defenseman Francis Bouillon last game to an upper-body injury. (As such, Shea Weber played a whopping 29:08 against the Blackhawks.)