BLUES (10-6-2) 2, BLUE JACKETS (5-11-2) 1
SCOTTRADE CENTER | ST. LOUIS, MO
The Blues came into tonight's game having not won a home game in five tries, and the Blue Jackets very nearly made it six.
Coming off a thrilling last-minute win in Detroit two nights earlier, the Blue Jackets started strong in a building that has not been kind to them over the years and gave themselves a chance to win the hockey game. David Perron's go-ahead goal midway through the third period ended up being the difference in an exciting 2-1 finish at Scottrade Center.
Jaroslav Halak, making his second straight appearance after missing time with a groin injury, was a large presence for St. Louis. He made several key stops in the first 40 minutes but came up with a game-saver in the dying seconds, reaching back (while on his back) to knock a floating puck from falling backward into the net. The Blue Jackets, on a late power play and pushing to tie the game, did everything but score and Halak did everything he could to keep them off the board a second time.
Much like Thursday's game in Detroit, this one had a "playoff" feel to it and both clubs didn't give up much to the opposition. It was a close-to-the-vest, tight-quarters game and both goaltenders played well. Chris Stewart opened the scoring with a rising slap shot off the wing in the first period, a rocket that appeared to deflect upward as it got to Sergei Bobrovsky.
Columbus answered in the latter stages of the second period on a highlight-reel shorthanded goal from Matt Calvert, who undressed a St. Louis defender before doing the same to Halak with a sweeping deke back to the far side. At that point it was a 1-1 game and the Blue Jackets had a chance early in the third period on the power play, but the Blues killed it off.
Later in the third period, David Backes muscled his way to the net and fed Perron in the high slot, who ripped a quick wrister through Bobrovsky's pads to give St. Louis a lead it would not relinquish.
Perron's game-winner was the turning point not just because it was the deciding tally, but because of what preceded it. The Blue Jackets had their chances but could not convert, and the Blues took advantage of one of their best opportunities in the third period.
- Jack Johnson left the game in the second period with an upper body injury and did not return. We hope to have an update when the team arrives in Chicago.
- Has there been a Blue Jackets forward more consistently dangerous than Calvert? He seems to make something happen on every shift and his line mates take after him, feverishly pursuing pucks and generating chances off the cycle.
- Columbus' fourth line was a force tonight, and that's been the case for a while. Colton Gillies has really stood out by bringing energy every night and getting the forecheck started.
- Tim Erixon played 16:29, most of it alongside Wisniewski, and stepped up when Johnson left the game. The youngster is making it hard for Todd Richards to take him out of the lineup.
at Chicago Blackhawks
Sunday, 7 p.m.