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Preview: Blue Jackets hope to keep hot start going vs Blues

Another Columbus win would set another franchise record for points to start a season.

by Brian Hedger JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

GAME 11: BLUE JACKETS (7-3-0) AT BLUES (8-2-1)

SCOTTRADE CENTER, 8 P.M., SATURDAY

TV: FOX SPORTS OHIO/FOX SPORTS GO

RADIO: CD 102.5 FM & BLUEJACKETS.COM

The Blue Jackets are off to a record start with 14 points through the first 10 games for the first time in franchise history, and can repeat that accomplishment with a victory against St. Louis in Game 11.

A win would give the Jackets 16 points and pushed them past the 2007-08 team's 15 points in the first 11 games (7-3-1).

Columbus and St. Louis come into this game under similar circumstances, after each started a back-to-back Friday night with a 2-1 win on the road.

The Blue Jackets defeated the Winnipeg Jets in overtime on the first OT goal of Josh Anderson's NHL career, while the Blues got a game-winning goal from Brayden Schenn in the third period to down the Carolina Hurricanes.

Columbus has won its past two games to split a four-game homestand, while St. Louis has won its past two games and has points in five straight (4-0-1). This is also the third back-to-back in October for each team, and their goal differentials are exactly the same.

The Blues (36-27) and Blue Jackets (32-23) have each scored nine more goals than they've allowed.

The difference in goaltending is also small between No.1 goalies Jake Allen and Sergei Bobrovsky, who started for Columbus on Friday.

If Bobrovsky doesn't start, it will be Joonas Korpisalo. Allen is expected to start for the Blues, who recalled goalie Ville Husso from San Antonio of the American Hockey League on Saturday. Husso might be Allen's backup. Carter Hutton, who made 26 saves for St. Louis on Friday, might miss the game if his wife goes into labor.

Since Feb. 2 of last season, Allen and Bobrovsky - the reigning Vezina Trophy winner -- are almost neck-and-neck statistically. In that timeframe, Bobrovsky has the top save percentage (.936) and goals-against average (1.97) in the NHL, while Allen (.932, 2.06) is second in both categories.

Korpisalo hasn't played in four games, after making 24 saves to beat Winnipeg 5-2 on Oct. 17 at Bell MTS Place, and it seems like a natural fit to get him another start to conclude two games in two nights.

Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella plays it close to the vest with his lineup decisions, though, especially goaltending, and said it's no sure thing Bobrovsky gets a night off.

"It's a hard question to answer, because it depends on where the team is, where the momentum of our team is, a lot of different things," Tortorella said Friday, prior to watching Bobrovsky make 29 saves for his fifth win of the season. "I don't get too far ahead, and not all back-to-backs I believe in playing two goalies. I don't get too far ahead, so it's an everyday decision when it comes to that, as far as which goalie plays."

Home ice is another interesting statistic in this series. The home team has won nine of the past 11 games in the series, and the Blues are 3-0-0 at Scottrade Center - one of only two teams that hasn't lost at home yet (Tampa Bay Lightning the other).

SERIES RECORD

2017-18 Season: (0-0-0). This is the first of two games this season. The Blues will visit Columbus on Mar. 24 at Nationwide Arena.

All-time: 30-36-15; 10-23-8 at Scottrade Center

"BY THE NUMBERS"

  • 1: Sergei Bobrovsky has allowed one or fewer goals in five of his six wins.
  • 4: The number of shots Jackets center Alexander Wennberg put on net against the Jets, tying his season-high set on Oct. 19 in a 2-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
  • 10: Combined wins between the Blues and Jackets when leading after two periods. St. Louis is 7-0-0, the best record in the NHL, while Columbus is 3-0-0 in that scenario.
  • 14: Number of shot attempts Columbus left wing Artemi Panarin took against Winnipeg, including five on net, five blocked and four that missed.
  • 39: Blue defenseman Joel Edmundson excels at blocking shots. He blocked six Friday against the Hurricanes, and took over the top spot in the NHL with 39.

EYES ON: THE BLUES

  • Schenn is on a hot streak right now. Aside from his game-winner Friday in Carolina, he has four points (one goal, three assists) during a three-game point streak and won 70 percent of the face-offs he took against the Hurricanes (7-of-10). He's also not afraid to make contact with opposing players, leading the Blues with six of their 28 credited hits Friday.
  • Allen is 2-0-1 in his past three starts, and had 23 saves against 25 shots in his most recent one - a 5-2 victory against the Calgary Flames on Wednesday at Scottrade Center. Since Feb. 2 of last season, Allen's 21 wins are the most in the NHL, including five this season.
  • Defenseman Carl Gunnarsson returned to the Blues' active lineup Friday after missing the Blues' win against the Flames for the birth of his first child. Gunnarsson played 21:28 and blocked two shots.
  • Rookie Vince Dunn has been impressive in the first 10 games of his NHL career. Dunn, playing the right point on the third defense pairing, has two goals (2-0-2) and a plus-six rating for the Blues while filling in for Jay Bouwmeester (left ankle). Dunn, a second-round pick (No. 56 overall) in 2015, had another solid game Friday in Carolina. He logged 18:42, took the second-most attempts (10) on the team, put five on goal and led St. Louis with four takeaways. Dunn might be playing his way into an everyday spot in the lineup even when Bouwmeester returns.

EYES ON: THE BLUE JACKETS

  • Columbus went 6-for-6 in penalty killing against the Jets on Friday, which bumped their season total for killing penalties at Nationwide Arena to 16-for-16. It's the Blue Jackets' longest streak to begin a season without allowing a power-play goal on home ice (six games), and they tied the franchise record for number of penalties killed on home ice to begin a season. Columbus also killed its first 16 penalties on home ice in 2007-08.
  • Josh Anderson is making up for missing training camp and the preseason with a contract dispute. The 23-year old power forward is 6-foot-3, 221 pounds and has good speed, which he's been using more often the past few games. Anderson has also worked his way from third-line minutes to right win in a top-six capacity, shifting the past couple games with high-skill players such as Artemi Panarin and Nick Foligno. Anderson has five points (three goals, two assists) in the past six games, and is starting to get more time on special teams.
  • The Blue Jackets have won all three of their overtime games, which is the third time in the team's history Columbus has won its first three games that went beyond regulation. The record was set in 2005-06, when the Jackets won their first five in either overtime or a shootout.
  • Columbus is one of three teams that hasn't scored a power-play goal in a road game yet. The Jackets are 0-for-11 thus far.

FUN FACT

The Blue Jackets' franchise record for penalty minutes in a period belongs to former defenseman Duvie Westcott, who racked up 31 minutes in penalties in the second period against the Blues on April 13, 2006. Westcott only logged 11:50 in the game, and was assessed six penalties in the period - including five at the 11:25 mark. Westcott was called for hooking, instigating, instigating with a face shield, fighting and was given two 10-minute misconducts - including one for instigating.

QUOTABLES

"I'm never going to stand up here and say, 'You know what, we got it. We're playing,' because the next game it's going to be something different. It's the game of hockey. That's why I say you just find a way to win. That's the most important thing, and I think we have found ways to win hockey games."

- Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella

"I lie. I lied … I can't sit here and say my lines in Game 9 or Game 10 are going to be the same in game 20. That is just not the way the game's played. It's such a game of different flows. I don't know where a team's going to be." - Tortorella on tinkering with line combinations

"It wasn't pretty, was it? We didn't play well at all, especially in the first five, 10 minutes of the game. They were all over us, taking it to us. After the second period, Torts just came in and said, 'We've got to find a way to win,' and that's what we've done all year. We find different ways to win, and we stuck with it. - Blue jackets defenseman Seth Jones

"This league never allows us a lot of time to sit around and be happy about things. We will be for a little bit, but we'll get on the plane and we'll get to work here with Columbus. That'll be a tough one." - Blues coach Mike Yeo, following a 2-1 win for St. Louis on Friday in Carolina.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

BLUES

Forward lines

Vladimir Sobotka - Paul Statsny - Alexander Steen

Jaden Schwartz - Brayden Schenn - Vladimir Tarasenko

Magnus Paajarvi - Oskar Sundqvist - Beau Bennett

Scottie Upshall - Kyle Brodziak - Dmitrij Jaskin

Defense pairs

Joel Edmundson - Alex Pietrangelo

Carl Gunnarsson - Colton Parayko

Robert Bortuzzo - Vince Dunn

Goaltenders

Jake Allen

Ville Husso or Carter Hutton

Out: Chris Thorburn, Nate Prosser, Ville Husso or Carter Hutton

Injured reserve: Zach Sanford (left shoulder), Robby Fabbri (left knee), Jay Bouwmeester (left ankle), Patrik Berglund (left shoulder)

BLUE JACKETS

Forward lines

Artemi Panarin - Nick Foligno - Josh Anderson

Boone Jenner - Brandon Dubinsky - Cam Atkinson

Matt Calvert - Alexander Wennberg - Oliver Bjorkstrand

Sonny Milano - Zac Dalpe - Pierre-Luc Dubois

 Defense pairs

Zach Werenski - Seth Jones

Jack Johnson - David Savard

Ryan Murray - Markus Nutivaara

Goaltenders

Joonas Korpisalo 

or

Sergei Bobrovsky

Out: Markus Hannikainen, Scott Harrington

Injured reserve: Gabriel Carlsson (undisclosed), Lukas Sedlak (ankle)

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