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Goals have been hard for St. Louis to come by this season, especially when facing the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Blues could draw some inspiration from one of the NHL's greatest scorers and new Hall of Fame inductee when they honor him on Friday night.
After retiring Al MacInnis' No. 2, St. Louis will try to find the back of the net against Columbus for the first time in 2007-08 when the teams square off at Scottrade Center.
Possessing one of the hardest shots ever, MacInnis ranked third all time in scoring among defensemen with 1,274 points over a 23-year career that ended due to an eye injury in 2003-04. The 12-time All-Star also was a Norris Trophy winner with St. Louis in 1999 - a decade after capturing the Conn Smythe Trophy while leading Calgary to its only Stanley Cup.
"I grew up dreaming of playing in the NHL and winning a Stanley Cup, but I never imagined this type of recognition," MacInnis told the Blues' official Web site. "To be a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame with the greatest players in the world is truly an honor."
MacInnis was among five inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday and the first from Nova Scotia. His number will be the sixth raised to the rafters by the Blues, joining Bob Gassoff (3), Barlcay Plager (8), Brian Sutter (11), Brett Hull (16) and Bernie Federko (24).
The Blues (8-7-0) certainly could use MacInnis' offensive prowess - they've scored a Western Conference-low 39 goals this season, including two shutout losses to the Blue Jackets in Columbus. Overall, St. Louis has managed only two goals during a four-game skid against its Central Division rivals.
Pascal Leclaire has posted both shutouts for Columbus (9-6-3) among his league-leading five this season. He's won his last two starts in St. Louis and is 2-1-1 with a 2.71 goals-against average in four career starts there.
Both teams ended losing streaks on Tuesday. St. Louis snapped a season-high three-game slide with a 4-3 win over West-leading Detroit on Tuesday behind rookie David Perron, who scored twice in a 93-second span during a four-goal second.
Perron, a left wing selected 26th overall in June's NHL draft, has scored all four of his goals in the last four games.
"You always have to prove something," Perron said. "Even if I stay the whole year, I still have to prove that the team made a good decision."
The Blue Jackets (9-6-3) ended a four-game slide with a 4-2 win over Chicago on Wednesday as Sergei Fedorov had a goal and assists and Leclaire stopped 16 shots.
"We did the little things right and it was nice to see. Everyone contributed," Columbus' Jason Chimera said.
Rick Nash also tallied his team-high 12th goal in the win. The top overall pick in 2002 has scored goals in each of the win over the Blues this season.
Since shutting out St. Louis on Nov. 4, Leclaire is 1-2-0 with a 3.02 GAA in three starts. He needs one more shutout to set the Blue Jackets single-season record originally set in 2002-03 by Marc Denis.