Blues-Blue Jackets Preview
GAME: St. Louis Blues (25-13-6-1) at Columbus Blue Jackets (12-24-7-3).
TIME: Wednesday, 7 p.m. EST.
The St. Louis Blues, hoping to inch closer to the top spot in the Central
Division, look to make it seven straight wins over the Columbus Blue Jackets
when the teams meet at Nationwide Arena.
St. Louis has won all four meetings against the Blue Jackets this season,
with three of those victories coming by one goal. The Blues lead the all-time
series 12-3-3-1, including 4-2-2-1 in Columbus.
In the last meeting at St. Louis on Thursday, the Blues scored three
unanswered goals in the third period and rallied for a 5-3 victory.
"Do we feel snake bit against St. Louis? Yeah, big time," Columbus interim
coach Gerard Gallant said following the loss. "We played them tough. We
compete hard every night. We just seem to fall short."
The Blues have gone to overtime in their two games since that win, skating
to a 2-2 tie Saturday against Minnesota and winning 2-1 at Florida on Monday on
Pavol Demitra's goal 48 seconds into the extra period.
Demitra, who also scored St. Louis' first goal Monday, has four goals and
three assists in the last five games after going pointless in his first three
games back from a concussion.
"When he gets hot, he can get red hot," St. Louis coach Joel Quenneville
said. "He is tough to contain because he smells that net very well. He's a guy
who can really ignite our offense."
Blues left wing Keith Tkachuk assisted on both goals Monday, giving him
seven assists in his last four games. Tkachuk leads the team with 19 goals, but
has none in his past nine games.
Columbus has been a much improved team under Gallant, going 3-3-3 since
replacing Doug MacLean on Jan. 1.
David Vyborny had a goal and two assists and Rick Nash added his
league-leading 28th goal Sunday as the Blue Jackets skated to a 4-4 tie against
"I thought we should have won the game 7-3 or 7-4," Gallant said. "They
had some luck tonight and we didn't."
Nash and rookie right wing Nikolai Zherdev have been the offensive catalysts
for Columbus lately.
Nash has five goals and two assists in his last six games while Zherdev has
three goals and two assists during a four-game point streak.