-- Neither the St. Louis Blues
nor Columbus Blue Jackets
skated Sunday morning in preparation for today's 7 p.m. (EST) game at Scottrade Center.
Both teams played Saturday night. The Blues (18-9-4) fell 2-1 in a shootout at Nashville, a place in which coach Ken Hitchcock hasn't won since a 2-1 win on Feb. 13, 2001 while coach of the Dallas Stars
. He's now 0-10-6-1 in his last 17 games coaching at Bridgestone Arena. He's since been with Philadelphia, Columbus and now St. Louis and hasn't had any success in that building.
The Jackets (9-19-4) just wrapped up a discouraging five-game homestand with a 1-3-1 mark after a 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay.
It'll be the second meeting of the season between the Central Division rivals, with the Blues winning 2-1 on Nov. 27 at Nationwide Arena on a David Backes
third-period power play goal. It snapped a 1-1 tie.
The game marks the return of Jackets defenseman Nikita Nikitin
to St. Louis for the first time since the Nov. 11 trade that sent Nikitin to Columbus for fellow defenseman Kris Russell
The Blues could miss Jason Arnott
(flu) for a second consecutive game after the veteran center missed Saturday's game.
- - -
No major changes are expected by either team in their respective lineups tonight. The Blues will likely go with Saturday's lineup if Arnott is not ready to go:
- David Backes
- T.J. Oshie
- Patrik Berglund
- Chris Stewart
- Jason Arnott
- Jamie Langenbrunner
- Scott Nichol
- Ryan Reaves
- Alex Pietrangelo
- Kevin Shattenkirk
- Roman Polak
Halak is expected to get the start again after stopping 19 shots in the shootout loss Saturday night. If Arnott returns, Grachev is expected to be a healthy scratch, along with defenseman Ian Cole
. If Arnott sits, Evgeny Grachev
will slide onto the team's fourth line with Nichol and Reaves; Porter would be elevated to third line with D'Agostini and Langenbrunner. Players on injured reserve for the Blues include winger Andy McDonald
(concussion), winger B.J. Crombeen
(shoulder), center Vladimir Sobotka
(ankle) and defenseman Kent Huskins
- - -
The Jackets, who are 1-13-2 when allowing the first goal in a game and have only won 12 of their last 54 games dating back to last season (only seven of them in regulation), are expected to go with the lineup they used Saturday:
- Jeff Carter
- Rick Nash
- Derick Brassard
- Mark Letestu
- Samuel Pahlsson
- Derek Dorsett
- Derek MacKenzie
- Ryan Johansen
- James Wisniewski
- Nikita Nikitin
- Grant Clitsome
Sanford, a former Blue, is expected to get the start; Steve Mason
stopped 25 shots in the loss to the Lightning Saturday.
The Jackets are expected to scratch defenseman Aaron Johnson
and left winger Dane Byers
. Left winger Kristian Huselius
is out indefinitely with a groin injury and defenseman Radek Martinek
is out with a concussion.