Game Day Central: Blue Jackets at Blues

Friday, 01.3.2014 / 9:00 PM ET / News
By Staff
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Game Day Central: Blue Jackets at Blues
The third game of the Blue Jackets\' four-game road trip is a Saturday night showdown with the St. Louis Blues.




SECOND PERIOD ANALYSIS: The Blues started the middle frame with a flurry and ended it with one. They were the dominant side in the second period and as a result, the scoreboard reflects it. The Blue Jackets, who built a 2-0 lead in the first period, saw it evaporate in about 15 minutes as St. Louis tallied three times and put Columbus back on its heels. Puck management was a big problem for the Blue Jackets in the second period and they could not seem to get out of their own way in the defensive zone, but when you give a great time like the Blues some momentum, that's what they can do. It's going to take a collective effort from the Blue Jackets in the third period but we've seen them do it before - but their game has to simplify. Pucks deep, go to work below the goal line and get shots through to the net. 

Here's the good news, and it's that the Blue Jackets hold a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes at Scottrade Center. They were opportunistic in the first period, scoring twice on six shots and making the most of some limited time in the offensive zone. Columbus had to hang on a bit later in the period as the Blues woke up and put some shifts together, showing their aggressive, physical style on a couple of occasions. But so far, so good for the Blue Jackets who have managed the puck well and helped out their goaltender. They'll need a similarly-solid effort the rest of the way.

Mark Letestu's first goal in a long time makes it a 2-0 lead!

GOAL AUDIO: Artem Anisimov | Mark Letestu 

Artem Anisimov's 12th goal of the season gives the Jackets a 1-0 lead!


Foligno - Johansen - Umberger
Dubinsky - Anisimov - Horton
Comeau - Letestu - Tropp
Craig - Jenner - Atkinson

Tyutin - Johnson
Murray - Wisniewski
Nikitin - Savard


Cam Atkinson on his new line mates and keys to success against the Blues.

WATCH: Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards' pre-game press conference in St. Louis.

WATCH: Blake Comeau talks about tonight's game against the Blues.

PRE GAME AUDIO: Nathan Horton | Cam Atkinson | Blake Comeau | Todd Richards

UPDATE (1:10 PM):
Aaron Portzline of the Dispatch reports that Curtis McElhinney, coming off a shutout in Phoenix, will get the start tonight for the Blue Jackets. At this time, it appears as though Sergei Bobrovsky could make his return Monday in New York.

UPDATE (12:45 PM):
Also from the Blues' morning skate...Brian Elliot is the starting goaltender for St. Louis tonight. 

UPDATE (12:30 PM):
David Backes is expected to return to the Blues lineup tonight, coach Ken Hitchcock said this morning. Defenseman Jordan Leopold, activated off injured reserve, is also slated to play tonight. 

 It's game three of a four-game road trip tonight in St. Louis and the Blue Jackets are up against one of the NHL's best teams. The Blues are on a roll, coming off a shutout of the LA Kings and playing excellent hockey. The Blue Jackets are scheduled for an 11:30 a.m. (local time) morning skate at the Scottrade Center and we'll have complete coverage for you right here at Game Day Central all afternoon. Also, look for lineup changes, thoughts on the match-up against the Blues, storylines from the other side and an interview with coach Todd Richards. Stay tuned to this page for the latest!

The Blue Jackets got Nathan Horton in the lineup for the first time on Thursday night in their 2-0 win over the Phoenix Coyotes, and they might get another big piece back tonight in St. Louis.

Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, activated off injured reserve on Thursday, dressed as the backup goaltender in Phoenix but his return to the starting role is considered imminent. Is that going to be tonight? It's very possible, but bear in mind that Curtis McElhinney is coming off a 34-save shutout in his most recent start. 

Another potential return to keep an eye on is Dalton Prout, also activated on Thursday. It's possible that Ryan Craig could draw into the lineup in place of suspended Derek MacKenzie, who will miss the next three games. 

It seems like yesterday when the Blue Jackets and Blues played a really entertaining hockey game at Nationwide Arena. Replace "yesterday" with "a few weeks ago" and you'd be right on the money.

To recap (in a nutshell): the Blues opened the scoring, the Blue Jackets answered with three goals to close out the first period, St. Louis tied it late in the third period and scored early in overtime to win the game. It was a wild, back-and-forth, physical game that harkened back to previous years when they were bitter rivals in the Central Division. Yes, the Blues won the most recent match-up on Dec. 14, but the Blue Jackets did not and have not played poorly in the weeks since.

Columbus, coming off a 2-0 win in Phoenix in Horton's debut on Thursday, plays its third game of a four-game trip tonight at Scottrade Center - a building in which the Blues have played remarkably well this season. Ken Hitchcock's team is 16-3-2 on home ice and 7-1-2 in its last 10 games overall, their most recent game being a dominant shutout of the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.


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