There are moments where it almost feels scripted. This is the last time these two teams meet as divisional opponents, so OF COURSE they meet with playoff implications on the line for both teams. The last team to score on St Louis was Columbus, so OF COURSE the Blues come back to them to play one more game. The last time Columbus was ever this close to sniffing the playoffs, Hitchcock was their coach, so OF COURSE the Blue Jackets have to face his team one more time to have a shot. I can't tell you how proud I am of Brian Elliott and the boys. If this is some sort of script, I just can't wait to see what the next chapter looks like. From a March that felt like the Blues couldn't even see the playoff bubble, to an April run that is, so far, spectacular, it looks like those obstacles are just being torn down. Pieces are falling into place, and the wall that kept us out of the postseason Promised Land is ...
Crumblin' Down / John Mellencamp
The Enemy: Not much has changed since we last faced the Blue Jackets. They've continued they're winning ways, and are 5-4-1 in their last 10 games; 1 win and 1 loss since the April 5th game. Their overall points leader is Vinny Prospal (10-13-23), followed by Mark Letestu (9-12-21). The third guy on the list isn't even on the team anymore; Derick Brassard was sent to the NYR in the Marian Gaborik trade at the deadline. Another one to watch is Artem Anisimov - the last person to score on Brian Elliott, by the way, who has 10 goals and shares the lead in that category with Prospal.
The real story for this team has been in net, where Sergei Bobrovsky has really blossomed in the starter's role in Columbus. This year he's gone 14-10-6, with a 2.05 GAA and a .930 save percentage. His backup is Michael Leighton, who hasn't seen any action in the Blue Jackets net this year. He also came over at the trade deadline - from the Philadelphia Flyers. Over there, he has a record of 0-1-0 with 5.07 GAA and .808 save percentage.
Puck Rakers (beat writer's blog)
Final verse: C-bus is on Eastern Time, so the puck drops at 6PM St Louis time. Once again, we're in competition with the Cardinals for airwaves. The TV broadcast is on Fox Sports Midwest PLUS - go HERE to sort out what that means for your area and provider. The radio call will be on KYKY (Y98) FM. The GDT should drop shortly ahead of the puck - until then, consider this your pregame warmup. If you can, please join us for a watch party at Cousin Hugo's in Maplewood.
If I read the charts and numbers at Sports Club Stats correctly, the Blues are at 99.4% likelihood to make the playoffs, and a win against the Blue Jackets improve them + 0.5%. For me, 99.9% is enough for me to call this a clinching game. If for no other reason, because it's fine symmetry with where the Blues were on April 10, 2009 in another game against the Blue Jackets:
Blues Clinch 2009 Playoffs - KPLR Coverage (via djm448)