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Two points important for Blues and Blue Jackets

by Dave Lozo /
BLUE JACKETS (15-10-1) at BLUES (13-9-4)

TV:  FS-O (HD), FS-MW (HD)

Last 10:
Columbus 5-4-1; St. Louis 4-5-1

Season Series:
This is the second of six meetings. The Jackets smoked the Blues, 8-1, in St. Louis in their only meeting on Nov. 10.

Big Story:
As we move past the one-third point of the season, divisional games are starting to take on more meaning. Only two points separate the seventh-place Blue Jackets and ninth-place Blues, so these two points are big for both teams.

Team Scope:

Blue Jackets: After they were tied with the Red Wings atop the Western Conference a week ago, the Jackets have dropped five of six. They are coming off a win, however, against the red-hot Dallas Stars on Monday.

Rick Nash scored in the final minute to tie the game, and rookie Kyle Wilson netted the winner in the shootout to give the Jackets a 3-2 victory.

"It was big," Nash, the Blue Jackets captain, said of the victory. "We'd been in a bit of a losing streak here. It's been tough to find goals.

Blues: St. Louis has followed a similar pattern this season. The Blues were atop the West for a short time, but are now out of the top eight after losing five of their last six.

Much like the Jackets, the Blues snapped a five-game losing streak with a 3-2 win against the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday.

"It's nice to bury the pucks but I thought it was a complete effort and I was just the last one that touched the two pucks," said Blues forward Alex Steen, who scored twice in the win. "It was a gritty team effort, from our goalie to our back end to our forwards."

Who's Hot:
With two points Monday, Nash represents Columbus' hottest player. … Steen has been sizzling of late with 3 goals and 2 assists in his last four games.

Injury Report:
The Jackets will be without left wing Kristian Huselius, who is nursing an ankle injury. … The Blues will be missing forwards TJ Oshie (ankle surgery), David Perron (concussion) and Andy McDonald (concussion). Defenseman Ian Cole missed practice Tuesday because of the flu and is questionable.

Stat Pack:
Columbus, next-to-last in the NHL on the power play, had scored on only two of its previous 29 times with a man advantage before Nash's goal Monday. … The Blues are 8-2-1 at home, but 0-2 in their last two games there.

Puck Drop:
"We've been kind of snake bit lately, had a ton of shots and chances but just couldn't find it. That (five-game skid) was weighing on us so it's big one, especially against Vancouver, a good team at home." -- Blues forward Matt D'Agostini

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