St. Louis Blues to Sweep Back-to-Back While Visiting Columbus Blue Jackets


St. Louis Blues Game 19/82: Tuesday, November 17, 6:00 PM at Columbus Blue Jackets

After defeating the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 on Monday night, the St. Louis Blues head to Columbus for the second end of a back-to-back and will look to pick up a win against the Blue Jackets. While the Blues are surging and and sit in second place in the Central Division despite all their injuries, they have struggled against Columbus in recent years, particularly on the road.

The Blues lost both of their games against the Blue Jackets last year, including a 7-1 road loss, which also came as the second end of a back-to-back, on February 6. Looking back to prior years, the Blues had to battle their way to a 4-3 overtime win in Columbus in December of 2014, and they took a 4-1 road loss to the Blue Jackets in April of 2013. Their last regulation victory at Columbus came on January 31 of 2013.

This year, however, the Blue Jackets are arguably the worst team in hockey through the first month-and-a-half of the season, joining the Edmonton Oilers in bringing up the NHL’s rear with just 12 points on the season. The Blue Jackets, who currently sit at 6-12, have allowed 62 goals this year, which is tied with the Winnipeg Jets for second-worst in the league, trailing only the Calgary Flames. Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, the 2013 Vezina Trophy winner and an All-Star last season, has struggled significantly through this season, going 6-9 with a 3.33 goals-against average and .891 save percentage through 15 games.

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Captain Nick Foligno, who broke out in a major way last season with 31 goals and 42 assists, has gotten off to a poor start this season and has just one goal and six assists through 18 games this year. Instead, the Blue Jackets have been carried by trusty veteran Scott Hartnell, who leads the team with 14 points, and third-year center Boone Jenner, who is having a breakout season and has already matched his 2014-15 total of nine goals through his first 18 games.

Other than the insertion of goalie Brian Elliott in place of Jake Allen, there will be no way to know who’s in the Blues’ lineup until warmups take place at 5:30 PM tonight. On the second end of a back-to-back, coming off a night of travel, it’s possible that forward Ryan Reaves and defenseman Robert Bortuzzo, both of whom were healthy scratches on Monday night, could make their way into the lineup. One player who seems susceptible to being scratched tonight is forward Magnus Paajarvi, who played just 6:48 for no obvious reason on Monday night after a string of successful games.

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Elliott will make his first start since November 4 at Chicago (the now-famous “#RoarBacon game”), during which he gave up four goals on 15 shots, suffered a blow to the head, and was removed in favor of Allen after 17 minutes. He did play 43 minutes last Thursday at New York in relief of Allen after Allen gave up three goals on the first five shots he faced. Elliott wasn’t exactly effective, either, giving up two goals while facing 16 shots.

Here’s a guess at how the Blues’ lineup might look on Tuesday night:

Alexander Steen-David BackesVladimir Tarasenko

Robby FabbriJori LehteraTroy Brouwer

Scottie UpshallScott GomezDmitrij Jaskin

Jeremy WelshKyle Brodziak–Ryan Reaves

Jay BouwmeesterAlex Pietrangelo

Joel EdmundsonKevin Shattenkirk

Carl GunnarssonColton Parayko

Brian Elliott

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