The Columbus Blue Jackets have not enjoyed much success in St. Louis over the last three seasons. That could change if the Blue Jackets can replicate last month’s performance at home against the Blues.
Columbus and St. Louis continue their Central Division rivalry at Scottrade Center on Thursday night when both teams look for consecutive wins following five-game losing streaks.
The Blue Jackets (15-10-1), who have dropped nine of 10 in St. Louis since the start of 2007-08, routed the Blues 8-1 on Nov. 10 for the most lopsided victory in franchise history.
Chris Clark(notes) and Jakub Voracek(notes) each found the back of the net twice, and Rick Nash(notes), R.J. Umberger(notes) and Antoine Vermette(notes) added a goal and an assist apiece as the Blue Jackets prevented St. Louis (13-9-4) from winning eight in a row for the first time since a nine-game run Oct. 15-Nov. 5, 2002.
Columbus, off to its best start in 10 seasons in the league and one point ahead of St. Louis, makes the first of three visits to Scottrade Center in 2010-11 following Monday’s 3-2 shootout victory over Dallas. The Blue Jackets had been outscored 12-2 in their previous two games.
“(The win) was big,” Nash said after scoring the game-tying power-play goal with 46.1 seconds left in the third period and converting in the tiebreaker. “We’d been in a bit of a losing streak here. It’s been tough to find goals.”
Nash’s goal in regulation was just the third for the Blue Jackets in their last 30 chances with the man advantage.
St. Louis has been having its own struggles on the offensive end, averaging 2.0 goals in its last seven games. Playing without leading goal scorer Andy McDonald(notes), who is out indefinitely after suffering a concussion late in Saturday’s 2-1 overtime loss in Edmonton, the Blues ended their five-game slide Sunday with a 3-2 victory at Vancouver.
“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,” center Alex Steen(notes) said after scoring twice and recording a season-high three points. “It was a gritty team effort, from our goalie to our back end to our forwards.”
Along with McDonald, St. Louis is also playing without defenseman Roman Polak(notes) (wrist) and forward T.J. Oshie(notes), who suffered a fractured left ankle in the third period of last month’s loss in Columbus.
Traveling just once in their next five games, the Blues will try to avoid a third straight loss at home following a 14-0-1 stretch at Scottrade Center that started March 25.
Nash, who leads Columbus with 14 goals and 20 points, missed that matchup with an upper-body injury.
The Blues could either have Jaroslav Halak(notes) or Ty Conklin(notes) in net. Halak allowed four goals on 15 shots last month in Columbus before giving way to Conklin, who is 3-0 with two ties in his career versus the Blue Jackets.