The Jackets kick off the official second half tonight in St. Louis with a tough task in front of them: the Blues, frankly, are a juggernaut right now, and they've been doing it without leading scorer Alexander Steen. Since these clubs last played three weeks ago, one team is .500 (4-4-1), and one is not (7-1-2). I think you can figure out which one is which.
The Jackets rode the return of Nathan Horton on Thursday to a win in Phoenix, and they'll need to keep that momentum going as St. Louis also shut out their opponent on Thursday with a 5-0 thrashing of LA. There really isn't a weakness on this Blues team right now, and they're almost unbeatable at home, with just three regulation losses in 21 games.
Derek MacKenzie is out tonight as he serves a three-game suspension for boarding Oliver Ekman-Larsson the other night, and Curtis McElhinney gets another start after playing well in the shut-out win. Ryan Craig comes up to take his spot. Also, Boone Jenner will move back to his natural center position.
Overall, the Jackets need to play like they did early in the last meeting with the Blues, but they also need to figure out how to close it out. It's going to be tough sledding, no matter what.
Columbus Blue Jackets
(18-19-4, 40 Points; 7th division, 13th conference)
|Brandon Dubinsky||Artem Anisimov||Nathan Horton|
|Nick Foligno||Ryan Johansen||R.J. Umberger|
|Blake Comeau||Mark Letestu||Corey Tropp|
|Ryan Craig||Boone Jenner||Cam Atkinson|
|Fedor Tyutin||Jack Johnson|
|Ryan Murray||James Wisniewski|
|Nikita Nikitin||David Savard|
St. Louis Blues
(28-7-5, 61 Points; 2nd division, 3rd conference)
|Jaden Schwartz||David Backes||T.J. Oshie|
|Vladimir Sobotka||Patrik Berglund||Vladimir Tarasenko|
|Derek Roy||Brenden Morrow||Chris Stewart|
|Magnus Paajarvi||Maxim Lapierre||Ryan Reaves|
|Alex Pietrangelo||Jay Bouwmeester|
|Kevin Shattenkirk||Barret Jackman|
|Ian Cole||Jordan Leopold|
12/14/13 - St. Louis 4 at Columbus 3 (OT)
01/04/14 - Columbus at St. Louis
Head to Head Stats
St. Louis Columbus 3.50 (2) GPG 2.66 (13) 2.28 (5) GAPG 2.83 (20) 23.6% (4) PP% 17.6% (18) 84.7% (6) PK% 79.7% (23) Alexander Steen, 24 G leader Ryan Johansen, 16 T.J. Oshie, 27 A leader James Wisniewski, 19 Alexander Steen, 38 Pts leader Ryan Johansen, 32 Chris Stewart, 75 PIM leader Brandon Dubinsky, 68 16-3-2 Home/Road 9-10-2 1/2 vs. Los Angeles, W 5-0 Last Game 1/2 @ Phoenix, W 2-0 7-1-2 Last 10 5-4-1