Columbus Looks to leap frog St. Louis

Thursday, 11.09.2006 / 12:00 AM / News
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Columbus Looks to leap frog St. Louis
The St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series for the first time in 24 years this season. Meanwhile, the Blues missed the playoffs for the first time in 26 years last season and the Jackets thus far are 0-for-5 in that department.

The two teams with playoff aspirations, stand five and seven points, respectively, out of a playoff spot as the two meet tonight at 8 p.m. ET just up the street from the site of where the Cardinals clinched the World Series championship two weeks ago.

St. Louis (4-6-3, 11 pts.) currently sits in third place in the Central Divison and 12th in the Conference, two points ahead of Columbus (4-7-1, 9 pts.) but the Jackets have a game in hand as both teams look to jump start their seasons. Should Columbus defeat the Blues in regulation, Columbus will take sole possession of third place by virtue of its five wins.

The Jackets have been feeling the Blues on the road of late, dropping their last four games away from Nationwide Arena since Columbus’ 5-4 win at Chicago on Oct. 7, in the club’s second game of the season.

The Blues, meanwhile, have gone 3-3-2 in their home building, the newly christened Scottrade Center. The Blues, offensively, have been lead by veteran Keith Tkachuk, who is on a point-per-game pace, scoring 3-10-13 in his 13 games this season. Off-season aqcusition Bull Guerin has paid dividends, scoring 7-4-11, leading the team in goals. Young gunner Lee Stempniak has pitched in six goals of his own.

Goaltender Manny Legace, who left Detroit for St. Louis this off season, is 3-4-1 and has lost two of his last three games, despite the tutledge of former CBJ goaltending instructor, Rick Wamsley.

Wamsley, will probably have a thing or two to tell the St. Louis forwards, being that he has evaluated CBJ goaltender Pascal Leclaire for the years.

David Vyborny has been the brightest spot on the Jackets thus far, scoring 4-9-13, leading the team in points and assists, while tying Nikolai Zherdev for the team lead in goals.

The Jackets have won two of their last four games after a four-game losing streak from Oct. 14-23. Columbus went 5-2-1 in last season's series with St. Louis (4-6-3), quite a turnaround from previous seasons. Before last year, the Blue Jackets had won only five of 21 all-time meetings between the teams.

Coverage on FSN Ohio will begin with Ice Breaker at 7:30 p.m. The game will be available in HD on Time Warner (Ch. 753), Insight (Ch. 779) and DirecTV (Ch. 95).

Columbus will return to Nationwide Arena for the second half of the back-to-back, hosting the Edmonton Oilers at 7 p.m. on Friday night.

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