NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, January 22nd (All times eastern)
Columbus Blue Jackets (22-20-5) at St. Louis Blues (22-17-7), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Blues put themselves in an early hole last time out, but rallied to pick up a point. Earning points at home against the Blue Jackets hasn't been an issue for the club in a while.
St. Louis aims to extend an 11-game home point streak versus Columbus as the two clubs battle this evening at Scottrade Center.
The Blues are 10-0-1 in their last 11 as the host in this series, including a 4-1 victory on Dec. 9 that featured a goal and two assists by David Backes and 27 saves from Jaroslav Halak. St. Louis hasn't lost at home to Columbus in regulation since March 27, 2007.
It was also a much better effort than the Blues put up in Columbus back on Nov. 10, when it suffered an 8-1 setback. Halak did not make it out of the second period in that one, while Chris Clark and Jakub Voracek both scored twice for the Blue Jackets.
That blowout loss was the only one for the Blues in their last four versus the Blue Jackets and they have also taken seven of the past 11 in this series.
Halak is 2-1-1 with a 2.88 goals-against average in his career versus Columbus and made 25 saves in Thursday's 4-3 overtime setback to Detroit. The Blues trailed 3-0 in the game before getting goals from T.J. Oshie, Patrik Berglund and Backes, who tied the game with 5:46 left in regulation.
"We battled back and we have to learn not to put ourselves in a hole like that, especially against Detroit," Oshie said. "It's tough to dig yourself out. We got close and we got a point, but obviously you want two points every night."
Oshie scored his first goal since Oct. 14 as he was playing in his second contest since returning from a 31-game absence due to a broken ankle.
St. Louis is 1-0-1 on a three-game homestand and sits 11th overall in the Western Conference with 51 points, three back of a playoff spot and two more than Columbus, which is coming off Wednesday's 3-2 overtime triumph over Florida.
Antoine Vermette tied the game with 52.7 seconds left in regulation before R.J. Umberger tipped home a Grant Clitsome slap shot while on the power play with 54 seconds left in overtime.
"Yeah, we had a simple idea there. We wanted to set up the box, and get the puck to the point and bomb away," Umberger said of the late advantage. "I'm just standing in front to do what I do, and it worked."
Umberger then left the club after the game to be with his wife, who gave birth to the club's second child on Thursday. Umberger is expected to play tonight, however.
Wednesday's win was just the second for the Blue Jackets in their last nine games, but they do have a point in four straight (2-0-2). They are also 1-0-2 on a four-game road trip and halted a six-game slide as the guest.
Clitsome finished with two assists to give him a pair of goals and three helpers in his last four games, while Steve Mason made 29 saves.
Mason is 3-5-1 with a 2.99 GAA lifetime versus the Blues.
01/22 10:42:40 ET