A recent scoring slump by Rick Nash may be a cause of concern for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Given what Nash has done at home against the Chicago Blackhawks in recent years, though, he appears poised to end that drought.
Looking to extend his scoring mastery at Nationwide Arena over Chicago, Nash will try to help the Blue Jackets avoid their third straight home loss on Saturday night, when they face the Blackhawks for the first time in 2008-09.
Nash has a team-high five goals with two game-winners this season, but has gone without a point in his last four games. He could end that slide based on his success at home against Chicago.
The three-time 30-goal scorer has a point in 10 straight home games against the Blackhawks since April 1, 2006, totaling four goals and 10 assists. The Blue Jackets are 6-4-0 in that span.
Columbus' four wins over Chicago last season were its most against any opponent.
The Blue Jackets (4-6-0) return home following a 4-2 win over Colorado on Thursday. Derrick Brassard and Jason Chimera each had a goal and assist, and backup goaltender Fredrik Norrena made 30 saves as they won for just the second time in 15 visits to Denver.
Columbus' only other victory in Colorado was a 3-0 win on Dec. 5, 2006, with Norrena in goal.
"I knew I could win here, but I also knew it would take a good performance," Norrena said after his first victory this season.
With Pascal Leclaire on injured reserve (ankle), Norrena likely will start again. In 11 career starts against Chicago, Norrena is 4-4-1 with a 3.68 goals-against average.
He turned aside 17 shots on March 26 in a 4-0 home win over the Blackhawks for his fifth career shutout.
Nash is not the only star to struggle. The Blackhawks (4-3-3) are still waiting for new captain Jonathan Toews to score his first goal of the season.
Toews, who at 20 is the third-youngest captain in NHL history, had 24 goals in 64 games as a rookie in 2007-08, but his longest goal-scoring drought was just six games. He has three goals in seven career matchups against the Blue Jackets, but none have come in Columbus.
With Toews floundering, the Blackhawks are leaning more on reigning Calder Trophy winner Patrick Kane, and he's responded with three three-point games since coach Joel Quenneville took over for the fired Denis Savard on Oct. 16.
On Friday, Kane had a goal and two assists, and Chicago remained unbeaten at home (4-0-2) by beating Dallas 5-2. Cam Barker, Brent Sopel, Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien also scored their first goals of the season.
"I guess a few different people got us going tonight," Kane told the Blackhawks' official Web site. "It's big, especially against a team like Dallas. They've got a lot of skilled players, and seeing them getting frustrated is going to give you momentum."
Playing in only his ninth NHL game on Oct. 23, 2007, Kane had two goals and a career-best four points in a 7-4 home loss to the Blue Jackets.
Columbus will be without forward Jared Boll, who received an automatic one-game suspension from the NHL on Friday after receiving an instigator penalty late in the third period against Colorado.
As a rookie last season, Boll had a team-high 226 penalty minutes in 75 games. He has 33 penalty minutes in five games this season.