After a much needed rest after the Blues played six games in nine nights, the team’s back on the road with tonight’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The team was 5-1 in their starting stretch, so here’s hoping that the extended time off gave them some time to rest but didn’t diminish their momentum any.
The Columbus Blue Jackets, on the other hand, don’t exactly have a lot of momentum right now. They have two wins on the season, and have scored just seven goals over their last five games. The Blues scored one less than that in their opening night game against Detroit. The Jackets knew that not having Rick Nash to rely on for goals anymore was going to hurt the team in the short run until those goals were replaced, but their anemic start so far was probably unforeseen by everyone. The Jackets have a three-way tie for most goals between Mark Letestu, Artem Anisimov, and Vaclav Prospal – they each have two. The Blues also have a tie for leading goal scorer between Chris Stewart and Vladimir Tarasenko. They each have four.
The Blue Jackets also will have to work with what they have in net. Flash-in-the-pan Steve Mason is basically the backup now, which means that Sergei Bobrovsky is the current starter. Bob is a surprisingly able netminder, but it doesn’t matter how well he plays if the team in front of him can’t score to back him up. Brian Elliott will be in net tonight for the Blues. He hasn’t gotten off to the best start this season, leading many to wonder if he’s regressing to the mean. Regardless, he’s still 2-1 for the season, with the one loss coming at Chicago in a game where the team felt that the first period was optional.
You can’t approach any game in the NHL as an easy win; the Blue Jackets won their last game against St. Louis 5-2 at Scottrade, which was one of the hardest arenas for a visitor to play in. They can find ways to win; just because they don’t seem very good doesn’t mean that they can’t take a team down.