Darren Helm will play for the first time in 2014 tonight when the Red Wings host the Blues at Joe Louis.

Helm, who had been on IR with a groin injury, hasn’t played since Dec. 30. The layoff marked his second significant stint on the shelf this season, as he also missed 11 games with a shoulder ailment and another 14 with back issue that lingered from the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign.

Getting Helm back is a huge boost for Detroit. Mike Babcock often refers to Helm as the best third-line center in the NHL and, in limited games this season, Helm has discovered a real flair for offense. He has 11 points through 16 games, which includes seven goals — pretty impressive for a guy with a career-high of 12.