Blue Jackets-Blues Preview

The Columbus Blue Jackets finally posted a win away from home.

Playing in St. Louis may not be the best way for them to pick up

another one.

Coming off its first road victory in nearly three weeks and just

its second since November, Columbus closes a four-game trip

Saturday night seeking its first regulation road win over the Blues

in four seasons.

After winning eight of their first nine road games this season,

the Blue Jackets (22-20-5) went 1-9-4 away from home before

Wednesday’s 3-2 overtime victory over Florida.

Antoine Vermette sent the game into overtime with a last-minute

goal, and R.J. Umberger deflected a shot by Grant Clitsome into the

back of the net to snap the Blue Jackets’ six-game road losing

streak. It was their first win away from home since beating Toronto

on Dec. 30, which had followed seven consecutive road losses.

Columbus’ last four games have gone to overtime and its last

five have been decided by one goal.

“We’ve been fighting and clawing the last few games, and we’ve

had a lot of overtime games that we didn’t get the second point and

tonight we found a way,” Umberger said after scoring for the third

straight game. “We needed that big-time.”

Umberger, though, might not be available for this Central

Division matchup after leaving the team Wednesday to be with his

wife, who was expecting to give birth soon.

If Umberger isn’t back, Columbus will be without its

second-leading goal scorer in a building where it hasn’t won in

regulation since a 4-1 victory March 27, 2007.

The Blue Jackets have been outscored 40-16 in 11 visits to St.

Louis since that win. In the teams’ last matchup at Scottrade

Center, the Blues (22-17-7) won 4-1 on Dec. 9 behind a season-best

three power-play goals.

St. Louis could use that kind of production from its special

teams after converting just 3 for 33 with the man advantage over

the last 12 games.

Columbus has killed 15 of 16 penalties in its last five


The Blues, losers of seven of nine, will close a three-game

homestand following Thursday’s 4-3 overtime loss to Central-leading

Detroit. St. Louis rallied from a 3-0 second-period deficit but

lost for the fourth time in five games on home ice.

“Obviously, you want to get two points every night,” center T.J.

Oshie said after scoring his first goal since Oct. 14. “But we

battled back.”

The Blues had to be pleased with Oshie’s contribution,

especially with David Perron and Andy McDonald still trying to get

back on the ice following concussions. It was Oshie’s second game

after missing 31 for a fractured left ankle suffered in an 8-1 loss

at Columbus on Nov. 10.

That victory was the most lopsided in Blue Jackets history, and

it snapped St. Louis’ season-high seven-game winning streak.

Steve Mason made 29 saves in that win but is 0-2-1 with a 3.57

goals-against average in three starts at St. Louis. Mathieu Garon

started the Dec. 9 loss at Scottrade Center, making 20 saves, and

is 0-5-1 with a 4.49 GAA in his last six starts.

Jaroslav Halak stopped 27 shots to beat Garon in the last

meeting, but he’s 1-3-1 with a 3.01 GAA in five home starts this


Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash has three goals and six assists

during a six-game point streak. He has 10 goals and eight assists

in his last 16 games in St. Louis.