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Blues look to stay hot and cool off Blue Jackets

by Chris Pinkert / Notes by Brett Barczewski

COLUMBUS - The St. Louis Blues, who have won four straight games and six of their last seven, found themselves just one point out of a Wild Card spot and only three points behind the Minnesota Wild for third in the Central Division on Friday night.

The Blues will face one of their toughest tests in awhile on Saturday when they meet the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena (6 p.m. CT, FSMW, FSGO, KMOX). Columbus has won 10 straight games.

"I would say that they are the hottest team (in the League)," Blues Head Coach Mike Yeo said. "When you're on a streak like that, they're playing exceptionally well right now… Heck of a challenge."

 

THE MATCHUP

BLUES Patrik Berglund scored two goals, Vladimir Tarasenko added one in his return from an upper-body injury and the birthday boy, Dmitrij Jaskin, added the exclamation point on a 4-1 win against the Vancouver Canucks on Friday night at Scottrade Center.

With the victory, the Blues inched closer to being back into a playoff spot and could climb back in with a win against the Blue Jackets.

"It's taking it day by day right now," Blues forward Kyle Brodziak said after Friday's win against the Canucks. "We did a good job, got the win tonight. (Saturday's) a whole new story."

BLUE JACKETS Sergei Bobrovsky made 33 saves Thursday to help the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 4-0 shutout win over the Florida Panthers.

Columbus' 10-game winning streak is tied with the Nashville Predators and Colorado Avalanche for the longest in the League this season.

"It was one of our most complete games," Blue Jackets Head Coach John Tortorella told NHL.com after Thursday's win.

Tortorella didn't want to talk about the club's winning streak.

"That's not what this is about," he said. "It's about at the end of the year trying to get into [the playoffs]. That overlays everything."

After Friday's action, the Blue Jackets were third in the Metropolitan Division, just one point behind the second-place Pittsburgh Penguins and four points behind the Washington Capitals for the division lead.

HEAD-TO-HEAD The Blues won the previous matchup between the teams with a 4-1 victory on Oct. 28 in St. Louis. The Blues are 3-1-0 in their last four games against the Blue Jackets but have lost three straight at Nationwide Arena.

The Blues will be playing in their second night of back-to-backs. In that situation this season, the Blues are 9-2-2.

Video: Blues look to snap Blue Jackets' streak


HOT VS. BLUE JACKETS

- Tarasenko has seven points in his last four games (three goals, four assists)  

- Brayden Schenn has seven points in his last nine games (two goals, five assists)

- Berglund has four points in his last five games (three goals, one assists)

- Vladimir Sobotka has four points in his last four games (two goals, two assists)

- Jake Allen is 3-1-0 with a 2.49 goals-against average and a .908 save-percentage in five career starts


BLUE NOTES

The Blues are 32-6-2 when scoring the first goal of the game (.800), which is the fifth-best winning percentage in the League.

Allen won his 25th game of the season on Friday night, marking the third consecutive season he's reached that mark. Allen is 6-1-0 with a 2.28 goals-against average and a .909 save-percentage in his last seven starts.

With the 173rd goal of his career on Friday, Vladimir Tarasenko passed Red Berenson for ninth on the Blues all-time franchise list.

Carl Gunnarsson suffered a torn ACL in his left knee on Friday night and will miss the remainder of the season. Gunnarsson will require surgery and be re-evaluated in six months.

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