Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 1/31/13
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. Columbus is hoping a pair of call-ups can generate a spark after center Jonathan Audy-Marchessault and defenseman Tim Erixon were recalled Wednesday. Marchessault had 16 goals and a team-high 45 points in 42 games for the Falcons, while Erixon led all Springfield defensemen with five goals and 24 assists in 40 games. 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.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Knicks GM Scott Perry has yet to meet with owner James Dolan

Karl-Anthony Towns, Jimmy Butler reportedly recruiting Kyrie Irving to the Timberwolves

Cardinals QB Carson Palmer gives David Johnson stitches

Report: Dodgers interested in Mets RP Addison Reed

Report: Despite Kyrie Irving rumors, Carmelo Anthony still focused on the Rockets

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Pablo Sandoval appears at AT&T Park after signing with Giants

Report: Brewers interested in 2B Ian Kinsler

Ten college football stars most likely to unseat Lamar Jackson for the Heisman

Report: Kyrie Irving asked Cavs to trade him

Report: Knicks open to trading Carmelo, picks for Kyrie

Landon Collins: Giants will ‘definitely’ topple Cowboys atop NFC East

Sports & Politics Intersect: Trump casts shadow over U.S. Women's Open

Best of Yardbarker: General managers take the spotlight

The 'Pay that man his money' quiz

The unexpected rise of the Connecticut Sun

The National League Wild Card is suddenly relevant again

Kicking It: USMNT struggles to find consistency in Gold Cup as World Cup qualifying nears

Three Up, Three Down: The Dodgers are a complete juggernaut right now

BIG3 Week 5: Pivotal make-or-break weekend in Chicago

Who won the Open Championship in the year you were born?

Making an NFL GM change in the summer has its benefits

Box Score 7/21: Stay cool this weekend sports fans

The 'Let's show a little love for James Jones' quiz

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!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Sports & Politics Intersect: Trump casts shadow over U.S. Women's Open

The National League Wild Card is suddenly relevant again

The 'Pay that man his money' quiz

BIG3 Week 5: Pivotal make-or-break weekend in Chicago

The 'Let's show a little love for James Jones' quiz

Making an NFL GM change in the summer has its benefits

The 'Yoan Moncada era starts now' quiz

The Orioles need to unwind past deals if they are going to rebuild

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Sam Hinkie is calling the shots

The 'No one is betterer than Roger Federer' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker