(SportsNetwork.com) - The Columbus Blue Jackets will try to shake off injuries
to their top two goaltenders and match their longest winning streak of the
season on Saturday night when they receive a visit from the St. Louis Blues.
The Blue Jackets have opened December by winning four of five and are coming
off victories over the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers. That has
Columbus in position to match a season-high three-game win streak posted from
But the Blue Jackets will try to do so without No. 1 goaltender Sergei
Bobrovsky, who suffered a groin injury on Dec. 3, and backup Curtis
McElhinney got the start on Thursday night versus the hosting Rangers, but
departed following the first period due to a lower-body injury after stopping
15-of-16 shots faced. Mike McKenna came on in relief and turned aside 17 of
the 18 shots fired his way.
Though McElhinney's injury isn't believed to be serious, Jeremy Smith was
recalled from Springfield of the American Hockey League and will back up
McKenna is expected to make just his 16th career start and first since Nov.
20, 2010 with the Devils. Coincidentally, that outing came versus the Blues
and he allowed three goals on 27 shots faced.
Columbus will look to duplicate its start from the Rangers game, when it got
first-period goals from Matt Calvert, Artem Anisimov and David Savard. Ryan
Johansen added a late insurance tally to push his point streak to seven
straight games (3 goals, 6 assists).
"The guys were geared up," Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards remarked.
"They were focused and energized and it was a great start."
Columbus will need plenty of energy considering St. Louis has won three of
four and eight of its last 11 games.
The Blues also got off to a quick start last time out, scoring three times in
the opening period of a 6-3 triumph over the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs.
David Backes scored his first of two goals in the game during the frame, while
Jaden Schwartz and Derek Roy also tallied.
Schwartz matched a career high with three points, adding two assists, while
Alexander Steen netted his 22nd goal of the season, second-most in the NHL.
"We really created a number of offensive opportunities," Blues head coach Ken
Making his second straight start, Brian Elliott posted 19 saves to improve to
6-1-1 with a 2.14 goals against average this season.
Jaroslav Halak is in line to start tonight for the Blues and is 7-4-1 with a
2.62 GAA in 12 career meetings with the Blue Jackets.
The Blues have won 10 of their last 13 versus the Jackets overall and five of
their last seven trips to Columbus.
The Sports Network