Posted January 30, 2013 on AP on Fox
Columbus_blue_jackets_0abe
The St. Louis Blues have been getting plenty of offensive production throughout their lineup. The struggling Columbus Blue Jackets are just looking for someone to step up after trading star forward Rick Nash last summer. St. Louis will try to extend its best start in 15 seasons on Thursday night when the Blue Jackets open their longest homestand of the season. Playing six games in the opening nine days of the season was a daunting task, but the Blues (5-1-0) completed that stretch with three straight wins following a 3-2 road loss at Chicago on Jan. 22. Led by Chris Stewart and Vladimir Tarsenko, who each have four goals, seven Blues have found the back of the net at least twice. Nine have recorded at least four points in St. Louis' quickest start since opening 7-1-0 in 1997-98. "Everybody's scoring right now, so it's working good," defenseman Roman Polak told the Blues' official website after assisting on Vladimir Sobotka's game-winner in their last game, Sunday's 5-4 overtime victory over Minnesota. It's a different story in Columbus, where the Blue Jackets will play their next six games. They are struggling to score goals without Nash, who was traded to the New York Rangers in July after leading the team in goals and points in each of the previous five seasons. Center Artem Anisimov, who was acquired in that deal, is tied with Mark Letestu and Vinny Prospal with a team-high two goals. That trio has combined for four of the Blue Jackets' seven goals during their last five games. The lack of scoring makes it even more critical for Columbus (2-4-1) to avoid falling behind. They've given up the first goal five times, been outscored 7-2 in the first period and have fallen behind 2-0 on three occasions. The Blue Jackets were down by two in the first period of Tuesday's 3-2 loss at Minnesota. "We play our best hockey when we're playing from behind, but it seems like we're always playing from behind,'' said defenseman Jack Johnson, whose third-period power-play goal was the team's first score with the man advantage in five games. "It would be nice to get a lead for a change.'' More shots would also be nice after Columbus had a season-low 19. The Blues, though, are yielding a league-low 19.5 shots per contest. It's uncertain if Jaroslav Halak or Brian Elliott will be in net for Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, the Blue Jackets former coach, but either one could give Columbus fits. Halak is 3-0-0 with a 1.69 goals-against average and two shutouts in four starts, and another clean sheet would tie Glenn Hall's franchise record of 16. Halak, though, has allowed six goals on 34 shots in his two road starts. Elliott won both of his starts against the Blue Jackets last season, giving up one goal each time. First-year Blue Jackets netminder Sergei Bobrovsky has yet to face St. Louis. Backup Steve Mason has turned aside 60 of 62 shots while winning his last two starts against the visiting Blues. St. Louis won 2-1 in its last visit to Nationwide Arena on March 11, and has won four of five there.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Jackets set to take on red-hot Blues

The St. Louis Blues have been getting plenty of offensive production throughout their lineup. The struggling Columbus Blue Jackets are just looking for someone to step up after trading star forward Rick Nash last summer. St. Louis will try to extend its best start in 15 seasons on Thursday night when the Blue Jackets open their longest homestand of the season. Playing six games in...

Blues look to extend best start in 15 seasons

(AP) -- The St. Louis Blues have been getting plenty of offensive production throughout their lineup. The struggling Columbus Blue Jackets are just looking for someone to step up after trading star forward Rick Nash last summer. St. Louis will try to extend its best start in 15 seasons on Thursday night when the Blue Jackets open their longest homestand of the season. Playing...

The Hockey Playing Owner

from Dan Rosen of NHL.com, St. Louis Blues owner Tom Stillman initially thought a friend was playing a joke on him, but he knew that couldn't be the case because the name and number that came up on his phone was one that he had saved in his contacts folder. Wayne Gretzky. The Great One was indeed calling the new owner of the Blues to invite him to be his guest atÂ...

Early blitz carries Blues to win over Jackets

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Barret Jackman, Patrik Berglund and Vladimir Tarasenko each scored in the opening 14 minutes, Brian Elliott made 24 saves and the St. Louis Blues won their fourth straight game with a 4-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night. David Backes, who also had an assist, added an empty-netter. T.J. Oshie had two assists. Derick Brassard scored...

Blues blitz Blue Jackets

Barret Jackman, Patrik Berglund and Vladimir Tarasenko each scored in the opening 14 minutes, Brian Elliott made 24 saves and the St. Louis Blues won their fourth straight game with a 4-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night. David Backes, who also had an assist, added an empty-netter. T.J. Oshie had two assists. Derick Brassard scored for Columbus, which played...

Blues-Red Wings Preview

The St. Louis Blues continue to get contributions from nearly everyone they put on the ice, and with it, their best start to a season in 15 years. St. Louis will try for its fifth straight win on Friday night when it visits the Detroit Red Wings, who will be looking to avenge their worst season-opening loss in over half a century. The Blues (6-1-0) can match their 7-1-0 start from...

St. Louis vs. Columbus: Blues cruise to easy 4-1 win

In this shortened, 48 game NHL season, the St. Louis Blues entered Thursday night's game with the Columbus Blue Jackets surprisingly rested. The Blues had not played since Sunday and it showed early on as the Blues jumped out to a 3-0 lead and never looked back, beating Columbus 4-1 to pick up a nice road win. The Blues first goal came from an unlikely source in defenseman Barret...

Rick Nash – the refreshing change

Plenty more Nash celebrations as a Ranger to come What do Theo Fleury, Eric Lindros, Pavel Bure, Brendan Shanahan and even Jaromir Jagr all have in common? Despite varying levels of success as a Ranger, each of the aforementioned stars were acquired by the Rangers on the downside of their career. In the case of Fleury and Lindros both players had productive spells as Rangers even...

Nash Not Scoring

Rick Nash has 1 goal on 26 shots. As well as he has played, and it has been very, very well, that's somewhat of a problem. — Dave Lozo (@DaveLozo) January 30, 2013 Nash has five assists and is a +5. ...you know what's strange, until I saw this tweet I didn't even notice. His game is so complete, he's been helping the Rangers win (see his five assists...

Brad Ratgen: Gameday: Wild-Blackhawks; Thoughts From Last Night's Win Too

Whew! The game last night against Columbus was a lot closer than it should have been. But, the Blue Jackets are an improved team even without Rick Nash and they play a style similar to the Wild of yester-year: hang back, play a good defensive game, get some big saves from the goalie and capitalize on your opportunities. The two story lines that stood out for me last night were...

Blue Jackets 2, Stars 1

Vinny Prospal scored from a hard angle at 1:22 of the third and Sergei Bobrovsky had 24 saves to lead the Columbus Blue Jackets past the Dallas Stars 2-1 on Monday night, ending a four-game losing streak. It was the Blue Jackets' first victory since opening night in Nashville in a shootout. They had been outscored 16-6 since while mustering just a point in a shootout loss to...

Stars fall to Blue Jackets, lose third straight

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Vinny Prospal scored from a hard angle at 1:22 of the third and Sergei Bobrovsky had 24 saves to lead the Columbus Blue Jackets past the Dallas Stars 2-1 on Monday night, ending a four-game losing streak. It was the Blue Jackets' first victory since opening night in Nashville in a shootout. They had been outscored 16-6 since while mustering just a point...
NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.