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At the Rink blog

Blues try to get Hitchcock 600th win with Allen in net

Friday, 04.12.2013 / 12:34 PM

By Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent / 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

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2012-2013 At the Rink blog
Blues try to get Hitchcock 600th win with Allen in net

COLUMBUS -- The St. Louis Blues are red-hot. The Columbus Blue Jackets are in a fight for survival in the Western Conference playoff race.

The two Central Division rivals will meet for the final time of the season Friday night, also for the last time as divisional rivals, with the Blue Jackets departing for the Eastern Conference beginning with the 2013-14 season.

The Blues, winners of six in a row, will turn to Jake Allen in goal after Brian Elliott earned his third straight shutout in Thursday's 2-0 win at the Minnesota Wild. Elliott has a shutout streak of 189:29 he will carry into Sunday's NBC Game of the Week against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Friday night, Elliott, who is 5-0-0 with a 0.84 goals-against average and .968 save percentage in his past five appearances, will get the night off.

"You try not to think about that too much," Elliott said of the shutout streak, which has come entirely on the road and is a franchise record. The previous mark was held by Jacques Plante (141:19, set Dec. 11, 1968-Jan. 8, 1969).

As a team, the Blues take a shutout string of 201:24 into the game against the Blue Jackets, last allowing a goal when these teams met a week ago Friday at Scottrade Center (Artem Anisimov scored with 1:24 remaining in the second period of a 3-1 St. Louis victory). Allen was in goal for that game.

The Blues, who did not skate Friday morning, will be looking to get coach Ken Hitchcock his 600th career victory. Hitchcock, who has coached the Dallas Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Blue Jackets and Blues, is 599-379-88-83.

Hitchcock would become the 11th coach in NHL history to accomplish the feat and second current coach (Joel Quenneville) to be in the 600 Club.

The Blue Jackets will get at least one forward back into the lineup, and another is expected back. Brandon Dubinsky (illness) will return after missing one game, and Jared Boll (lower body) is expected to slot back into the lineup.

Here are the probable lineups for the Blues and Blue Jackets:

BLUES

David Perron - David Backes - Alexander Steen

Jaden Schwartz - Patrik Berglund - Chris Stewart

Andy McDonald - Vladimir Sobotka - Vladimir Tarasenko

Adam Cracknell - Chris Porter - Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo

Jordan Leopold - Kevin Shattenkirk

Barret Jackman - Roman Polak

Jake Allen

Brian Elliott

Scratched: Kris Russell, Ian Cole, Dmitrij Jaskin

Injured: T.J. Oshie (foot), Jaroslav Halak (groin), Scott Nichol (soreness), Jamie Langenbrunner (hip). Oshie skated for a fourth consecutive day but will not play.

BLUE JACKETS

Vinny Prospal - Artem Anisimov - Marian Gaborik

Matt Calvert - Mark Letestu - Cam Atkinson

RJ Umberger - Ryan Johansen - Nick Foligno

Jared Boll - Derek MacKenzie - Brandon Dubinsky

Fedor Tyutin - Jack Johnson

James Wisniewski - Adrian Aucoin

Nikita Nikitin - Dalton Prout

Sergei Bobrovsky

Michael Leighton

Scratched: Blake Comeau, Colton Gillies, Tim Erixon

Quote of the Day

Obviously a lot happened in a short period of time. At the end of the day, considering everything I went through, I really felt close to my teammates and I really feel like what we accomplished, I know we didn't win it all. ... I'm really proud of how we got there and what we did once we got there.

— Rangers forward Martin St. Louis to Jim Cerny of BlueshirtsUnited.com