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Jackets wrap up road trip with visit to St. Louis

by John Kreiser
BLUE JACKETS (22-20-5) at BLUES (22-17-7)

TV -- FS-Ohio (HD); FS-Midwest (HD)

Last 10 -- Columbus 3-5-2; St. Louis 3-5-2

Season series -- The Central Division rivals have split their two meetings this season, with each team winning comfortably at home. Columbus won 8-1 at Nationwide Arena on Nov. 10, while the Blues were 4-1 winners at Scottrade Center on Dec. 9.

Big story -- The Jackets conclude a four-game road trip at a place that's been a house of horrors for them during the past few years. The Jackets have only one victory (in a shootout) at Scottrade Center in 11 visits since a 4-1 win on March 27, 2007. The road has been a tough place in general for the Jackets, who are 2-9-4 in their last 15 away from Nationwide Arena.

Team Scope:

Blue Jackets -- Despite their road struggles, the Jackets come to St. Louis on a positive note after getting three points in their two games in Florida -- including a 3-2 overtime win against the Panthers on Wednesday, a game in which they trailed 2-0 in the first period, tied the game in the final minute and won in OT.

Being tied at the end of regulation is nothing out of the ordinary for the Jackets -- their last four games have been decided in OT or a shootout.

"We've been fighting and clawing the last few games, and we've had a lot of overtime games that we didn't get the second point and tonight we found a way," said R.J. Umberger, whose sixth-attacker goal forced OT in Florida. "We needed that big-time."

Blues -- St. Louis is also coming off a big comeback, albeit one that didn't end as well. The Blues spotted Detroit a 3-0 lead on Thursday, then rallied to force overtime -- only to see the Wings get a goal from Darren Helm for a 4-3 win. Getting a point in a game they trailed 3-0 is always helpful, but with the final playoff berth in the West still three points away, the Blues need wins, not overtime points.

"Obviously, you want to get two points every night," said forward T.J. Oshie, who scored during the comeback. "But we battled back. You have to learn from this and not put ourselves in a hole like this - especially against a team like Detroit."

Who's hot -- Jackets captain Rick Nash has 3 goals and 9 points during a six-game point streak. He also has 10 goals in his last 16 visits to St. Louis. … Blues center Alex Steen has points in six consecutive games.

Injury report -- Jackets forward Ethan Moreau is still sidelined with injured ribs. … The Blues are still without center Andy McDonald and forward David Perron due to concussions, and placed defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo on IR this week with an eye injury after he was hit in the face by a puck on Tuesday. Defenseman Barret Jackman is battling a lower-body injury and is questionable.

Stat pack -- The Blues had three goals during their win against Columbus in the Jackets' last visit. They could use some more of that kind of production; the power play has produced just 3 goals in 33 tries during the last 12 games.

Puck drop -- Umberger had more than hockey on his mind Wednesday. He left right after the game to fly home to be with his wife, who gave birth to the couple's second child, a daughter, on Thursday.

"He was having a rough game," Jackets coach Scott Arniel told the Columbus Dispatch. "He was having a tough game with the puck, and he was getting frustrated. But at the end of the day, he scored a big goal.

"After it was over, we presented him with the game-winning puck, so that he could give it to his daughter one day."

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