Blue Jackets-Blues Preview
GAME: Columbus Blue Jackets (20-38-8-4) at St. Louis Blues (32-26-10-2).
TIME: Saturday, 8 p.m. EST.
After missing out on a chance to improve their position in the Western
Conference standings, the St. Louis Blues will try to rebound against the
struggling Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Blues could have forged a three-way tie in the race for the final two
playoff spots in the West, but instead tied Nashville 1-1 on Thursday.
St. Louis is one point behind eighth-place Nashville with 12 games to play.
"We've got to find ways to win," Blues forward Keith Tkachuk said. "We
thought we deserved a little better here tonight."
Eric Weinrich scored for St. Louis, which has been in the playoffs 24
straight years, the longest current streak in major professional sports.
Blues left wing Brian Savage made his St. Louis debut against Nashville.
Savage, who was acquired from Phoenix on Tuesday, had 12 goals and 13 assists
in 61 games prior to the trade. To make room on the roster, St. Louis
reassigned Peter Sejna to Worcester of the AHL.
Blues defenseman Murray Baron missed his second consecutive game because of
the flu. His status for Saturday's game is uncertain.
Columbus is coming in off a 4-2 loss to Detroit on Thursday.
Blue Jackets rookie Nikolai Zherdev had a goal and an assist, and Trevor
Letowski also scored for Columbus, which has lost four straight.
Columbus is 11-17-4-1 since Gerard Gallant was named interim coach on Jan.
Center Brian Holzinger, who nearly scored on his second shift, played in his
first game for Columbus since being acquired from Pittsburgh on Tuesday.
Holzinger is the third Ohio native to play for the fourth-year Blue Jackets.
STANDINGS: Blue Jackets - 52 points, 4th place, 40 PB, Central Division.
Blues - 76 points, 3rd place, 16 PB, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Blue Jackets - Rick Nash, 37 goals and 51 points; David
Vyborny, 30 assists; Jody Shelley, 191 PIM. Blues - Tkachuk, 28 goals and 63
points; Doug Weight, 44 assists; Mike Danton, 141 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 11): Blue Jackets - Power play: 14.8 percent
(52 for 352), 23rd in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.6 percent (235 for 281), 20th.
Blues - Power play: 17.5 percent (53 for 302), 9th. Penalty killing: 84.3
percent (284 for 337), 15th.
GOALTENDERS: Blue Jackets - Marc Denis (17-30-7, 4 SO, 2.57 GAA); Fred
Brathwaite (3-10-1, 3.36). Blues - Chris Osgood (24-22-8, 2, 2.26); Reinhard
Divis (4-3-1, 3.09).
SEASON SERIES: Blues, 4-1.
LAST MEETING: Jan. 21; Blue Jackets, 3-1. At Columbus, Manny Malhotra scored
two third-period goals to lead the Blue Jackets.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blue Jackets - 5-22-4-2 on the road; Blues - 19-9-7-0 at