Blue Jackets-Blues Preview

The Associated Press

Maybe Jaroslav Halak can help the St. Louis Blues avoid their longest home losing streak in six seasons.

Halak is expected to make his first home start in more than a month Saturday night, although the Blues will be without star rookie Vladimir Tarasenko when they meet the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets.

St. Louis (9-6-2) has gone 0-4-1 in its last five at home and is trying to avert its longest dry spell at home since an 0-6-1 slide Nov. 25-Dec. 17, 2006.

The Blues have totaled one goal in back-to-back overall defeats, but a bright spot came Wednesday when Halak returned and made 19 saves in a 1-0 overtime loss at Colorado. He had missed seven games with a groin injury.

"It's always great to be back, back on the ice and playing games and being around the team," Halak said. "Obviously, I'm not happy with the result."

Halak's last start at home was Jan. 24. He is 15-1-1 with a 1.40 goals-against average in his last 17 regular-season home starts.

His lone regulation defeat in that span was a 5-2 loss to Columbus (5-10-2) on March 31. The Blues went 13-1-1 at home against the Blue Jackets in 15 meetings prior to that defeat.

Tarasenko has been placed on injured reserve after leaving Wednesday's loss with a towel draped over his mouth following a hit from Mark Olver near the boards. He is third among rookies with 12 points.

Although the Blue Jackets are once again at the bottom of the Western Conference, they are 2-0-0 on the road against Central Division foes. They ended a six-game road slide with a 3-2 victory over Detroit on Thursday.

Derek Dorsett and Vinny Prospal had third-period goals as Columbus rallied after falling behind 2-0 in the game's first three minutes. The victory was the Blue Jackets' first on the road since the Jan. 19 season opener against Nashville.

"It shows something as far as the battle and sticking with it," coach Todd Richards said. "But again, we've talked about this, we can't keep doing this to ourselves."

Blue Jackets center Artem Anisimov was taken off on a stretcher after being struck in the head by Red Wings defenseman Kyle Quincey. Anisimov is alert and stable.

St. Louis won the first meeting between these teams, 4-1 at Columbus on Jan. 31. Sergei Bobrovsky was pulled from that contest after allowing three goals on 11 first-period shots.

That started an 0-4-1 stretch for Bobrovsky in which he posted a 3.35 GAA before making 28 saves Thursday for his first win since Jan. 28.

The Blues are converting a league-high 31.7 percent of the time on power plays. St. Louis, however, has gone 0 for 7 over a season-high three straight games without a power-play tally.

Blues center Patrik Berglund's career-best four-game goal streak ended against the Avalanche.

Alex Steen has seven points in a six-game run against Columbus. He leads St. Louis with 15 points.

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