Columbus Blue Jackets vs. St. Louis Blues
RECORDS - CBJ: 22-38-7 (Road: 9-20-4), STL: 43-18-7 (Home: 28-4-4)
WHEN: Mar. 10, 2012 - 8 p.m. | WHERE: Scottrade Center
WATCH: FOX Sports Ohio (HD) | LISTEN:
97.1 FM & BlueJackets.com GAME NOTES
GAME DAY ON THE ROAD presented by:
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|Unlike the last three teams that have faced the Blue Jackets, the St. Louis Blues find themselves in an enviable position as the NHL regular season approaches the final furlong. They have built their season in pieces, and it began when Ken Hitchcock took over a 6-7-0 club back in November when St. Louis let Davis Payne go. Since the All-Star break, the Blues are firing on all cylinders and have benefited from two goaltenders playing lights-out hockey. |
Heading into Friday night’s schedule, St. Louis was the No. 1 team in the Western Conference and tops overall in the NHL after a 3-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks – who had been on quite the streak of their own up until the last couple of weeks. After dropping a 2-0 decision to the previous conference leading Vancouver Canucks last weekend, the Blues are now on a three-game winning streak and have allowed just three goals in that span. The Blues lead the NHL in team goals-against average (1.87), 19 percentage points better than the second-best New York Rangers (2.06). Both Brian Elliot and Jaroslav Halak are in the top-three in goals-against among all NHL goaltenders, and Elliot is tied with Henrik Lundqvist for the best save percentage in the league (.937).
Add in some timely scoring and a solid mix of skill and grit, and it’s not hard to see why the Blues are becoming one of the more dominant and imposing clubs in hockey. Captain David Backes has turned it up offensively, and scored a pair of goals in the Blues’ win over the Ducks two nights ago. St. Louis is missing five regulars – Matt D’Agostini, Kris Russell, Jamie Langenbrunner, Kent Huskins and Alex Steen – but has seen several youngsters and call-ups from Peoria (AHL) step into the lineup and contribute.
The Blue Jackets will be without Derek MacKenzie, Fedor Tyutin, Derek Dorsett and Steve Mason for tonight’s game at Scottrade Center. They are expected to recall a forward from Springfield (AHL) prior to the game.
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|Nash (24) ||Backes (21) |
|Prospal (33) ||Pietrangelo (31) |
|Nash (47) ||Backes, Oshie (47) |
|Dorsett (192) ||Reaves (92) |
|MacKenzie (+4) ||Shattenkirk (+26) |
|Sanford (10-15-4) |
|Halak (23-10-5) |
|Sanford (2.61) ||Elliott (1.63) |
|Sanford (.912) ||Elliott (.937) || |
|• The Blue Jackets have gone 9-6-1 the last 16 games after posting a 4-15-2 mark the previous 21 outings. Tonight’s game starts a stretch that has Columbus playing four of five on the road. The Blue Jackets are 4-1-1 in their last six road games. |
• Jack Johnson has points in three straight games after scoring his 10th of the season Thursday against Los Angeles. The 10 goals are a career high and two better than his previous best of eight set in 80 games in 2009-10. The goal against the Kings proved to be the game-winner, his fifth of the season and first as a Blue Jacket. He registered 1-1-2 Mar. 6 vs. Phoenix.
• Derick Brassard has points in five-straight games after notching an assist Thursday against Los Angeles. He has 1-5-6 during that stretch, while registering points in eight of the last 10 (3-7-10). He has collected 10-17-27 the last 35 games after being held to 2-3-5 the first 24 games of the season.
• Tonight marks the third and six meetings overall and second of two at Scottrade Center this season between the Blue Jackets and Blues. Columbus is 23-29-13 all-time against St. Louis, including an 8-18-7 mark at Scottrade Center.
G - #1
20-8-2 (6 SO)
.937 SAVE %
• Elliott was cut loose by the Ottawa Senators and Colorado Avalanche last season, and signed with the Blues this summer to compete for their No. 2 job in net. His resurgence has become a top story in the NHL, and is leading the league in save percentage and top-five in goals-against average.
D Radek Martinek (concussion); out for the season
LW Kristian Huselius (lower body); indefinitely
D Marc Methot (jaw); indefinitely
RW Jared Boll (foot); week-to-week
D Fedor Tyutin (hand); indefinitely
G Steve Mason (hand); day-to-day
RW Derek Dorsett (upper body); undisclosed
C Derek MacKenzie (concussion like symptoms); day-to-day