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Game Preview #42 - The Second Half Begins...

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The Jackets kick off the second half looking to get healthy and to avenge a game that go away three weeks ago.

Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sport

Columbus Blue Jackets at St. Louis Blues

January 4, 2014 - 8:00 pm EST
Scottrade Center - St. Louis, Missouri
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponent's Blog: St. Louis Game Time
SBN's Blues vs Blue Jackets coverage

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.

Projected Lineups

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
Curtis McElhinney
Sergei Bobrovsky

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
Brian Elliott
Jake Allen

Season Series

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