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
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
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.