With their disappointing five game road trip behind them the Blue Jackets return to Nationwide Arena tonight looking to end a five-game win-less skid (0-3-2) as they host the St. Louis Blues.
If they are to cut the seven point deficit between themselves and the 8th and final playoff spot - and hopefully claim it - they need a similar run to the run they had back in late January and February. The Blue Jackets have 10 home games remaining, they have lost just one of their last six in regulation at home and need that type of record to continue - starting tonight.
Asked about the teams mood following today's optional practice, head coach Scott Arniel said, "they have done a good job of not getting down and staying upbeat. Our home record has been better, we have 10 of our 17 games at home, we've played hard and we need to continue to be good and do the right things."
Coach Arniel was asked if he expected more of the same, meaning fisticuffs early in tonight's game, and he was quick to respond.
"I expect the physical side will be there but I don't know about the fighting," Arniel said.
Derick Brassard's return to the lineup tonight will be a game time decision and Arniel stated if Brassard does play he will help, what with his skill set. The coach praised Brassard for working hard to stay in shape while missing the last three weeks.
The Blues announced yesterday, prior to their departure from St. Louis, Jaroslav Halak has returned to the active roster from IR and will start tonight. No definitive word on the Jackets starting netminder, but Mathieu Garon was first off the ice for the Blue Jackets this morning.
It's a regular def. telecast tonight on FOX Sports Ohio - last one until April - beginning at 6:30 p.m. with Blue Jackets Live.
*Throughout the season, AAA will bring you the Broadcaster's Blog - Rimer's Game Day Ramblings. The Columbus Blue Jackets' television play-by-play man will try to keep you updated on all the season action through his blogs, especially when the Blue Jackets are on the road.