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Blue Jackets at Blues preview

Binnington, St. Louis eye fifth win in six games; Merzlikins to start for Columbus

by Louie Korac / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

BLUE JACKETS (5-5-2) at BLUES (7-3-3)

8 p.m. ET; FS-MW, FS-O, NHL.TV

 

The Game

The St. Louis Blues seek their fifth victory in six games when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets at Enterprise Center on Friday.

Goalie Jordan Binnington will make his sixth straight start for the Blues, 4-1-0 in their past five games. Binnington has a 2.00 goals-against average and .931 save percentage in those five starts.

Goalie Elvis Merzlikins will make his third NHL start and play his fourth game for the Blue Jackets, who have lost two straight and are 2-2-2 in their past six games. He's 0-1-1 with a 3.86 GAA and .891 save percentage this season; he made 19 saves in relief during a 4-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday.

 

Players to watch

Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois has four points (two goals, two assists) in a four-game point streak.

Blues forward David Perron has five points (one goal, four assists) in his past two games and 38 points (14 goals, 24 assists) in 42 games against Columbus.

 

They said it

"We just have to simplify and play a straight-ahead hockey game. We have to be a simple team." -- Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella

"I think it's a big game. We talked to the team about that this morning and making sure we're ready. The details of the game are going to be important for me. This is a young, aggressive team that's going to come after us tonight. So we've got to be ready for that. We've got to be on our toes, and we've got to be ready for a hard game." -- Blues coach Craig Berube

 

Blue Jackets projected lineup

Gustav Nyquist -- Pierre-Luc Dubois -- Cam Atkinson

Nick Foligno -- Boone Jenner -- Josh Anderson

Sonny Milano -- Alexander Wennberg -- Oliver Bjorkstrand

Jakob Lilja -- Riley Nash -- Emil Bemstrom

Zach Werenski -- Seth Jones

Scott Harrington -- David Savard

Vladislav Gavrikov -- Dean Kukan

Elvis Merzlikins

Joonas Korpisalo

Scratched: Markus Nutivaara

Injured: Brandon Dubinsky (wrist), Alexandre Texier (knee), Ryan Murray (hand)

 

Blues projected lineup

Jaden Schwartz -- Brayden Schenn -- Sammy Blais

Zach Sanford -- Ryan O'Reilly -- David Perron 

Alexander Steen -- Tyler Bozak -- Robert Thomas

Mackenzie MacEachern -- Ivan Barbashev -- Oskar Sundqvist

Carl Gunnarsson -- Alex Pietrangelo

Jay Bouwmeester -- Colton Parayko

Vince Dunn -- Justin Faulk

Jordan Binnington

Jake Allen

Scratched: Robert Bortuzzo, Robby Fabbri

Injured: Vladimir Tarasenko (shoulder)

 

Status report

Tortorella said line combinations and defensive pairings will be changed but would not disclose them. Based on the morning skate, Nyquist, Foligno and Milano all have been juggled. ... The Blues will dress the same lineup that played in a 2-1 win against the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday.

 

Stat pack

Atkinson has 16 points (five goals, 11 assists) in 18 games against St. Louis. … Perron needs one assist for 300 in the NHL. ... O'Reilly has five points (two goals, three assists) in his past two games. ... Schenn has five points (four goals, one assist) in his past five games.

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