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Blue Jackets-Blues Preview @NHLdotcom

GAME: Columbus Blue Jackets (26-36-2) at St. Louis Blues (19-32-11).

TIME: Monday, 8 p.m. EST.

Coming of one of his best games of the season, Nikolai Zherdev looks to lead the Columbus Blue Jackets to a third straight win when they visit their Central Division rivals, the St. Louis Blues.

Zherdev had a goal and two assists Saturday to lead Columbus past Edmonton 4-3. It was the second three-point game of 2005-06 for the Blue Jackets' leading scorer, matching his two-goal, one-assist performance of Nov. 4 in a 5-3 loss at Vancouver.

Columbus won for the third time in four games and has totaled nine goals in its last two outings. Zherdev was involved in each of the Blue Jackets' final three goals to help the team rally from a 2-0 deficit after one period.

"After the first period, we played better and came back," Columbus left wing Rick Nash said. "(Coach) Gerard (Gallant) gave us a little speech in between periods and we came back. Things are starting to come around. Guys are starting to feel comfortable again and that's really showing on the ice."

Marc Denis snapped a personal four-game losing streak by stopping 24 shots.

The Blue Jackets will be trying to score four goals or more in three straight games for just the second time this season.

Columbus has won three of the first five meetings with St. Louis this season, but is 2-9-1-1 all-time at St. Louis.

The Blues have gone 3-1-2 since the Olympic break to improve to 7-2-2 in their last 11. St. Louis will be concluding a four-game homestand after sandwiching a pair of shootout losses around a win over Minnesota on Friday.

Petr Cajanek scored for St. Louis in a 2-1 shootout defeat to Los Angeles on Saturday. The Blues missed a golden opportunity to open the scoring when Keith Tkachuk failed to convert a penalty shot in the second period.

"Our effort was real solid and our team play was great," St. Louis coach Mike Kitchen said. "Everyone had a part in it. I thought we deserved a better fate in regulation."

St. Louis' opponents have noticed the difference in a club that dealt its top scorers, Doug Weight and Mike Sillinger, in late January.

"They're a totally different team than the last time we played them," Kings goaltender Mathieu Garon said. "They got those young guys who play really hard. They're not playing like a team that's not going to the playoffs."

STANDINGS: Blue Jackets - 54 points, 3rd place, 39 PB, Central Division. Blues - 49 points, 4th place (tied), 44 PB, Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Blue Jackets - Zherdev, 24 goals and 46 points; David Vyborny, 30 assists; Jody Shelley, 127 PIM. Blues - Dean McAmmond, 15 goals; Cajanek, 29 assists; Scott Young, 41 points; Barret Jackman, 133 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS : Blue Jackets - Power play: 14.3 percent (52 for 363), 29th in NHL. Penalty killing: 81.0 percent (341 for 421), 23rd. Blues - Power play: 15.6 percent (62 for 398), 23rd. Penalty killing: 82.0 percent (297 for 362), 17th.

GOALTENDERS: Blue Jackets - Denis (16-22-0, 1 SO, 3.34 GAA); Pascal Leclaire (7-11-2, 3.43). Blues - Curtis Sanford (13-13-5, 3, 2.67); Patrick Lalime (3-11-6, 3.65).

SEASON SERIES: Blue Jackets, 3-2.

LAST MEETING: Jan. 20; Blue Jackets 4-3, SO. At Columbus, Ohio, Nash scored the first shootout goal of his career as the Blue Jackets overcame two short-handed goals by St. Louis.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blue Jackets - 9-22-2 on the road; Blues - 10-15-5 at home.

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