After 16-game absence, Murray back for Columbus

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The Columbus Blue Jackets will get a huge boost in their hunt for the playoffs on Friday against Chicago, as rookie defenseman Ryan Murray will return to the lineup for the first time in over a month.

Murray, who went out with a knee injury against Toronto on Mar. 3, has missed the last 16 games as a result. The No. 2 overall pick at the ’12 draft was a key contributor on the Columbus back end prior to getting hurt, notching 20 points in 61 games while averaging over 20 minutes per night.

The Blue Jackets head into tonight in sole possession of the final wild card spot in the East, one point up on idle Toronto with two games in hand. They’d love to get a result against the ‘Hawks but will be hard pressed to do so — the last time the two played, back on Mar. 6, Chicago laid a 6-1 whipping on Columbus at the United Center.

Related: After big win in Philly, Jackets need to keep their ‘foot on the pedal’