BLUE JACKETS 7 | BLUES 1
Matt Calvert Goal
Scott Hartnell Goal
Ryan Johansen Post Game
Nick Foligno Post Game
Brandon Dubinsky Post Game
Todd Richards Post Game
ANALYSIS: The first period was a good start, but the second period was definitely a step better. The Blue Jackets have established territory inside the St. Louis zone and they're playing like a hungry, aggressive group tonight against a very good opponent. Columbus scored three goals in the second period, punctuated by a beautiful snipe by Nick Foligno from the high slot to make it 5-1 favoring the Jackets at the 16:17 mark. Ryan Johansen opened the second period scoring with a shorthanded breakaway marker (the first of his career), going glove side on Brian Elliott. Then it was Corey Tropp getting his first of the season on a nifty tip at the side of the net, and the 4-0 goal was all she wrote for Elliott tonight as Jake Allen entered the game at 8:26. Columbus is out-shooting the Blues 24-16 and put 16 pucks on the St. Louis net in the second period, getting three goals and a wave of momentum entering the third period.
Ryan Johansen Goal
Corey Tropp Goal
Foligno's Second Goal
Second Period Highlights
ANALYSIS: You can talk all you want about going out and playing a first period like the Blue Jackets just did, but it's another thing to walk the walk. It was an ideal first period for Columbus, laying the body and making it clear to the Blues that they would be flying in on the forecheck and pressuring the puck carrier at every opportunity. Nick Foligno scored his 19th goal of the season at 10:44 of the first period, knocking in a mid-air rebound created by a Brandon Dubinsky shot from the slot - but full credit goes to Corey Tropp for making a nice play in transition to keep the Jackets moving up ice, eventually finding Dubinsky in the middle of the ice. Then, late in the period, Cam Atkinson put an exclamation mark on a terrific offensive zone shift from the Johansen line, and again, it was big No. 19 leading the way. He created three point-blank chances for that line on one shift before Atkinson batted in a loose puck at 18:16. Shots are even at 8-8 after 20 minutes.
Nick Foligno Goal
Cam Atkinson Goal
First Period Highlights
Mark Letestu Pregame
Matt Calvert Pregame
Todd Richards Pregame
UPDATE (11:00AM): The Blues have points in 13 straight games coming into tonight. Head coach Todd Richards said it isn't difficult to see why they've been playing so well. Richards noted that the Blues play hard and that they play a 60 minute game, something important to the Jackets after a slow start on Tuesday. Richards said any player coming to the rink to play the Blues had better be prepared to play a "man's game".
-Richards mentioned that players coming back from injury often take time to adjust. There's an initial surge of energy in the early going but then a regression as players settle into their regular routines. Richards thought center Artem Anisimov seemed to be finding his game in his last outing, controlling the puck more and making more plays.
- Another player making those adjustments is defenseman Ryan Murray. He will play along side David Savard for the third straight game since his return to the lineup.
"(Ryan) is a great player. I'm just trying to be there for him and talk. I think he's been doing a great job and I'm just going to talk to him and make sure I'm open for him so that he always has options," said Savard.
UPDATE (10:10 AM): Here are the lines and pairings from this morning's skate..
- Matt Calvert returns to the lineup after missing the last two games due to illness.
Warm up the band, Jackets fans!
The St. Louis Blues are in town Friday night as the Blue Jackets look to snap a three-game losing streak. The Blues are on a better streak of their own with points in 13 straight games (12-0-1), a franchise record.
The Blues come into Columbus a bit banged up. All-Star defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk suffered an injury in Washington on Sunday that now will lead to abdominal surgery. Jori Lehtera remained out of the lineup in Buffalo with reported concussion symptoms and remains questionable against the Blue Jackets before the morning skate. Though significant injuries, the Blues have significant scoring depth and haven't missed a beat.
Here are a few pre-morning skate nuggets to chew on:
- Jake Allen started in goal for the Blues last night, meaning Brian Elliot will likely get the call in Columbus for what is the second half of a back-to-back for the Blues. Elliot was in Columbus for the All-Star Game and is in the midst of one of his best seasons. He leads all starting goaltenders in goals-against average and his save percentage ranks third.
- The Blue Jackets are expected to go back to Curtis McElhinney after playing Anton Forsberg on Tuesday night.
- Matt Calvert has returned to practice for the Blue Jackets after battling a recurring illness for the better part of a week. With Calvert back in the lineup the Jackets will likely not employ the seven-defenseman lineup featured the last two games, a strategy that placed Jordan Leopold and Kevin Connauton in forward roles at times.
- Leopold might not be in the lineup to face his former team, but that doesn't mean their won't be a featured rivalry between former friends. Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock was behind the Blue Jackets' bench for parts of four seasons, compiling a record of 125-123-36 and leading the Jackets to their first playoff appearance. He is 9-3-0 against Columbus since taking over for the Blues.