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Blue Jackets-Blues Preview @NHL
Blue Jackets-Blues Preview

GAME: Columbus Blue Jackets (5-18-0) at St. Louis Blues (4-14-3).

TIME: Saturday, 8 p.m. EST.

The Columbus Blue Jackets will try to avoid tying a franchise record for consecutive losses when they visit the St. Louis Blues in a matchup of the league's worst teams.

Columbus, which has an NHL-low 10 points, suffered its seventh straight defeat Friday, 5-0 to the Colorado Avalanche.

It was another discouraging effort for the Blue Jackets, who have dropped 11 of 12, and have not led in the last 420 minutes played.

Columbus is just one defeat shy of reaching the franchise mark for consecutive losses set twice before, most recently from March 3-18, 2004. The Blue Jackets have dropped nine in a row on the road since a 3-2 victory Oct. 9 over the Chicago Blackhawks.

"Everyone's sick of losing," defenseman Bryan Berard said. "It's no fun. We've got to score some goals."

The Blue Jackets have scored fewer than three goals in 16 of their 23 games, and have a league-low 40 goals this season. They also have managed just nine goals during their seven-game skid.

Their offense has been hampered without top scorer Rick Nash, out with a sprained knee. Defensemen Adam Foote (groin), Rostislav Klesla (hand) and top goaltender Marc Denis (groin) are also sidelined.

"We made mistakes and they put them in the back of the net. And we can't get a goal," Blue Jackets coach Gerard Gallant said Friday. "We're trying. It's disappointing. I know the players are disappointed. To come out and lose 5-0, it's unbelievable."

St. Louis has been trying to move past its own losing ways. The Blues halted a franchise-record 11-game skid with a 2-0 victory Nov. 16 over the Blue Jackets. They followed that win on Nov. 19 by beating the Detroit Red Wings, 3-2, to post consecutive wins for the first time this season.

However, St. Louis has lost two straight since, including a 5-3 setback Friday to the Minnesota Wild.

Dean McAmmond scored twice for the Blues, who gave up three goals in the third period.

"We did some good things," said McAmmond, whose multi-goal effort was the 13th of his career and second of the week. "We were pretty solid in the first couple of periods, then had some breakdowns in the third."

Keith Tkachuk returned to the Blues lineup Friday after missing 15 games with a rib injury. He scored a power-play goal for St. Louis, which has a league-low four wins and just one point better than Columbus.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 25): Blue Jackets - 10 points, 5th place, 24 PB, Central Division. Blues - 11 points, 4th place, 23 PB, Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Blue Jackets - David Vyborny, 6 goals; Manny Malhotra, 11 assists; Berard, 15 points; Jody Shelley, 46 PIM. Blues - McAmmond, 9 goals; Petr Cajanek, 15 assists and 17 points; Jamal Mayers, 41 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 25): Blue Jackets - Power play: 9.7 percent (13 for 133), 30th in NHL. Penalty killing: 82.1 percent (133 for 162), 13th (tied). Blues - Power play: 13.7 percent (20 for 145), 26th. Penalty killing: 81.1 percent (112 for 138), 21st.

GOALTENDERS: Blue Jackets - Pascal Leclaire (0-4-0, 0 SO, 3.84 GAA); Martin Prusek (2-3-0, 0, 3.25). Blues - Patrick Lalime (2-9-3, 0, 4.00); Curtis Sanford (2-3-0, 1, 3.05).


LAST MEETING: Nov. 16; Blues, 2-0. At Columbus, Ohio, Lee Stempniak had a goal and an assist in the third period and Sanford posted his second career shutout in just his 10th NHL game.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blue Jackets - 1-10-0 on the road; Blues - 2-8-1 at home.

Associated Press

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