NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, January 31st
(All times Eastern)
St. Louis Blues (5-1-0) at Columbus Blue Jackets (2-4-1), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The well-rested St. Louis Blues try to extend their three-
game winning streak Thursday evening as they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Blues opened the season by playing six games in nine days, winning five of
them to post their best start to a season since going 7-1-0 to begin the
St. Louis played its second set of back-to-back games over the weekend,
picking up a 4-3 win at Dallas before finding enough energy to beat the
Minnesota Wild 5-4 in overtime on Sunday.
The Blues will be in action again on Friday as they visit Detroit to wrap a
quick two-game swing before getting three days off. They will then play four
straight at home.
St. Louis battled back from two goals down to take a 4-3 lead against
Minnesota, which tied the game with 4:08 left in regulation. The Blues,
though, did not fold and got the winner from Vladimir Sobotka 2:16 into the
"I've been around a long time and the third period was impressive," Blues head
coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Back-to-back, it was a very physical game
(Saturday) night and to come with that type of effort was, I think, a real
confidence booster. We didn't get down on ourselves. We really took our game
to another level. A full value for the win, in my opinion."
Wade Redden, Patrik Berglund, Chris Stewart and Barret Jackman also scored for
the Blues, while Brian Elliott made 12 saves.
The Blue Jackets got their season off to a good start with a shootout win over
Nashville, but have since lost five of six (1-4-1) and are coming off a 3-2
loss in Minnesota on Tuesday.
Columbus yielded a pair of goals in the first period, but got a second-period
tally from Mark Letestu before Jack Johnson's power-play goal 7:32 into the
third evened the game.
The struggling club was unable to get at least a point, however, as the Wild's
Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored on a wrister to cap a breakaway with 5:19 left in
the game. He beat Steve Mason, who made 23 saves, into the top-left corner.
"We came out and played hard in the third. If guys are waiting for me to
motivate them then we're going to have a tough time," Blue Jackets coach Todd
Richards said. "It's got to come from within and they have got to be ready to
go and be ready to do the right things."
Richards will hope his club finds some motivation in the opener of a six-game
homestand, but Columbus has lost seven of its past nine versus St. Louis.
The Blues have won four of their last five trips to Ohio.
01/31 10:48:45 ET
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