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Fresh off win, Jackets continue trip vs. Blues

by Tal Pinchevsky

BLUE JACKETS (5-10-2) at BLUES (9-6-2)


Last 10: Columbus 3-6-1; St. Louis 3-5-2

Season series: This is the second of four meetings this season between the Central Division rivals. The Blues won in Columbus, 4-1, on Jan. 31 and went 4-2-0 against the Blue Jackets last season.

Big story: After losing five straight to start the month, the Blues are hoping to return to the torrid pace they started the season with. The Blue Jackets have also struggled for much of this month and have gone 1-3-0 so far on their current season-long six-game road trip.

Team Scope:

Blue Jackets: After losing their first three games on their trip, the Jackets looked to rebound on Thursday against the division rival Red Wings. The losers of six of their previous seven games, Columbus fell behind early, with Damien Brunner opening the scoring just 18 seconds into the contest. Valtteri Filppula doubled the Detroit lead just 2:22 later, putting the Blue Jackets in a bind.

But Columbus fought back and Derek Dorsett was able to tie the game 5:03 into the third period. The game appeared destined for extra time until Vinny Prospal notched his team-leading sixth goal of the season with just 25 seconds remaining in overtime. Taking a pass in front of the net from James Wisniewski, Prospal spun around before putting a backhand past Wings netminder Jimmy Howard.

But the big win came at a cost, as Artem Anisimov left the game on a stretcher after being left motionless on the ice following a collision with Detroit defenseman Kyle Quincey. He was taken to the hospital as a precaution and was released Friday and allowed to travel back to Columbus.

Blues: After going 6-1-0 in January, the Blues suddenly fell back to earth in February, starting the month with five straight losses. But a 3-0-0 road trip gave the impression that St. Louis was suddenly turning the corner and returning to its early-season form. Following a 2-1 loss to a San Jose team that had previously lost seven in a row, the Blues came to Colorado to face off against the Avalanche.

With starting goaltender Jaroslav Halak back from injury and making his first start in almost three week, St. Louis dominated the game early, outshooting Colorado 9-2 in the opening period. But the game remained scoreless until overtime, when David Jones snapped a shot past Halak with just 16.4 seconds remaining to give Colorado the win.

"We had all kinds of chances, didn't finish around the net," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We left the game out there and then made a mistake on the backcheck [in overtime]. That was the end of the game."

Who's hot: After going pointless for nine games, Dorsett has three points in his last two games for Columbus. Prospal has four goals in his last seven contests and Wisniewski has three points in his current three-game point streak. … For the Blues, Patrik Berglund has four goals in his last five games while Chris Stewart has eight points in his last seven games.

Injury report: In addition to Anisimov, the Blue Jackets are missing forward Brandon Dubinsky (sprained knee) and defenseman Ryan Murray (shoulder surgery). … Blues forward Jamie Langenbrunner is out for the remainder of the season following hip surgery and rookie Vladimir Tarasenko is doubtful following a blow to the head sustained on a hit by Colorado's Mark Olver.

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