Blues-Blue Jackets Preview

The Associated Press

David Perron is enjoying the best stretch of his career while helping the St. Louis Blues get untracked on the power play.

The Blues have won four straight behind the red-hot Perron heading into Tuesday night's visit to the league-worst Columbus Blue Jackets.

Perron has scored in every game of this four-game run for St. Louis (34-14-7) for the best goal streak of his career. The fifth-year winger has seven points during his surge.

"I'll certainly take the goals that are coming my way right now,'' Perron said. "Mostly the wins, for sure.''

Perron has scored three of the Blues' four power-play goals over the last two games, including one in Sunday's 3-0 home win over San Jose. St. Louis had been 0 for 10 over its previous six contests.

"That's four power-play goals in two games," defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. "We don't care how it looks as long as we get the job done."

St. Louis owns the NHL's second-worst power play on the road at 9.1 percent. Columbus (16-34-6), however, has the league's worst penalty kill at 75.1 percent.

That beleaguered unit allowed three power-play goals in Sunday's 5-3 home loss to Anaheim.

"I think if we had given them 10 power-play opportunities tonight, they might have gotten 10 goals," interim coach Todd Richards said.

Richards replaced the fired Scott Arniel on Jan. 9. Arniel was the second person to coach the Blue Jackets since Ken Hitchcock was let go by Columbus on Feb. 3, 2010.

Hitchcock remains the Blue Jackets' winningest coach with 126 victories. He's had quite an impact in St. Louis since taking over for Davis Payne on Nov. 6, going 28-7-7.

The Blues are three points behind NHL-leading Detroit with two games in hand. Their 1.91 goals-against average and 11 shutouts are the league's best.

Jaroslav Halak made 25 saves Sunday to tie for the NHL lead with his sixth shutout. Halak was pulled in his previous start, a 4-3 shootout loss at New Jersey last Thursday.

"I've got a lot of confidence in Jaro, going right back to him,'' Hitchcock said.

Halak is 5-2-1 with a 2.94 GAA in eight career starts against the Blue Jackets while Brian Elliott is 3-0-1 with a 2.45 GAA in four.

St. Louis has won five straight over Columbus, including both meetings this season. A 2-1 victory Nov. 27 marked Hitchcock's return to Nationwide Arena.

The Blues saw a valuable player return Sunday in Andy McDonald, who assisted on a goal by Pietrangelo. The center had been out since October with a concussion.

"It's nice to be back,'' McDonald said. "It's been so long, kind of a long road to recovery.''

Columbus has started to get some key players back. Jeff Carter has picked up three points in five games after missing a month with a shoulder injury and James Wisniewski has three points in two contests since missing 17 games with a broken ankle.

"Obviously we're a lot of points out of a playoff spot but it's time to play for pride and a lot of guys are playing for jobs, too," Wisniewski said.

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