Preview: Blues at Blue Jackets
The St. Louis Blues have not missed a beat since hoisting their first Stanley Cup in June, even withstanding a devastating injury to high-scoring forward Vladimir Tarasenko. The Blues own the best record in the Western Conference and are riding an eight-game point streak heading into Friday night's matchup at the skidding Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Blues lost their first game without Tarasenko before ripping off seven straight victories, a streak that ended with a 3-2 shootout loss to visiting Arizona on Tuesday. "Bottom line is we're getting points," defenseman Colton Parayko said. "Could we play better? Possibly. But at the same time, we're getting points and that's the biggest thing." Two-thirds of Columbus' 18 games have been decided by one goal, including all six of its victories and a 4-3 overtime loss at St. Louis on Nov. 1. The Blue Jackets have lost seven of eight overall (1-5-2) after giving up a last-minute goal before falling in a shooting at Montreal on Tuesday.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FS Midwest (St. Louis), FS Ohio (Columbus)
ABOUT THE BLUES (12-3-4): Parayko, who had a career-best 10 goals last season, got his first in St. Louis' 19th game while unleashing a game- and season-high eight shots on net. Fellow blue-liner Alex Pietrangelo continued his hot stretch by setting up a goal to give him one tally and six assists during a four-game point streak to move into a tie for third on the team with 17 points. Forwards Ryan O'Reilly and David Perron were each held off the scoresheet Tuesday but they have 11 and 10 points, respectively, during the eight-game point streak.
ABOUT THE BLUE JACKETS (6-8-4): While Columbus' top offensive players continue to scuffle, the fourth line of center Riley Nash along with rookies Eric Robinson and Emil Bemstrom turned in a solid performance against the Canadiens. Robinson scored his first career goal in his season debut and Bemstrom collected an assist on the tally to run his point streak to three games, while Nash set up defenseman Zach Werenski's goal. "They had some good shifts," coach John Tortorella said after the trio combined for five shots on goal and nine hits.
1. The Blue Jackets placed F Kole Sherwood (oblique) on injured reserve and recalled F Markus Hannikainen from Cleveland of the American Hockey League.
2. The Blues recalled F Klim Kostin from San Antonio of the AHL.
3. Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno will serve the second of a three-game suspension.
PREDICTION: Blues 3, Blue Jackets 2