Blues Gameday Preview: 3/19/22 – Columbus Blue Jackets

The St. Louis Blues head to Columbus today for their second meeting of the season against the Blue Jackets. In their first meeting, the Blues skated away with a 6-3 victory on Nov. 27, 2021, when forwards Ivan Barbashev and Pavel Buchnevich each scored twice to secure the team’s victory. The Blues are looking to get back to their winning ways in their final game before the NHL Trade Deadline and break their two-game losing streak.

2 Storylines: Blues (34-17-9)

Blues Searching for Complete Game Effort

After their second consecutive overtime loss, the Blues are left scrounging not only for points but for a full 60-minute effort as well. “We’ll take any points we can get, but at the same time, that wasn’t our best effort,” Blues forward Brandon Saad said. “It’s good to get a point, but it’s something we need to correct.” After their overtime loss against the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday, the Blues came into Thursday’s matchup against the Penguins after a four-day break. However, their energy and ability to generate any offense didn’t happen until the team was down by two goals late in the second period when David Perron scored at the 16:55 mark.

Brandon Saad St. Louis Blues
Brandon Saad, St. Louis Blues (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

When the Blues are able to capitalize early in the game, they are 19-8-5 overall this season and 9-4-3 on the road. Their overtime loss against the Winnipeg Jets was the only time in their last five games where they scored first and lost.

Jordan Kyrou Continues to Lead Scoring Charge for Blues

23-year-old Jordan Kyrou has been a force for the Blues this season. With 22 goals and 59 points over 56 games, he continues to be a dominant force each and every single night for the organization. While he has not scored a goal in his last five games, he continues to make the plays that have helped set his team up for success.

Kyrou has played in 56 of 60 games this season and is currently on pace to score over 30 goals and 80 points. Drafted 35th overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft by the Blues, he has scored 41 goals and 106 points over 155 regular-season games.

2 Storylines: Blue Jackets (31-28-3)

Laine and Bjorkstrand

While the Blue Jackets may miss out on the playoffs this season, the future is looking bright behind two of their top-scoring wingers in Patrik Laine and Oliver Bjorkstrand. The 26-year-old Bjorkstrand has played his entire career for the Blue Jackets and is currently tied for the team lead in points with 46 in 60 games this season. Now in the first year of his five-year, $27 million contract, he is setting record numbers for himself this season and is proving to be a key contributor for the organization moving forward.

Patrik Laine Columbus Blue Jackets
Patrik Laine, Columbus Blue Jackets (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Along with Bjorkstrand, the Blue Jackets boast another offensive weapon in Laine. The 23-year-old Finnish forward appears to have found a new home in Columbus and rediscovered his scoring touch once more. In a year betting upon himself, he has scored 24 goals and 46 points in 43 games this season, 18 of which have come in the last 21 games.

Columbus’ Defensive Woes

The Blue Jackets have struggled mightily this season when it comes to keeping the puck out of their own net. Averaging 3.68 goals allowed per game, the team is currently tied for 27th in the NHL. Over the last five games, they have sunk below that season average and are allowing four goals per game. With the team currently missing two key players in their lineup in Boone Jenner and Adam Boqvist, things are not looking up for them as they head into this game against the Blues.

Related: Jenner Injury Will Test Blue Jackets’ Centre Depth

Should the Blue Jackets look to contend against the Blues, it will need to be as a result of their offensive weapons. They currently boast over five players with 40 or more points this season and will need all of that balanced scoring in order to beat the Blues.

Players to Watch

St. Louis: Vladimir Tarasenko – With one goal and six points in his last five games, expect him to take advantage of the defensive woes in Columbus.

Columbus: Zach Werenski – The dynamite offensive defenseman has a four-game point streak heading into the game with five points accumulated in that time.

Projected Line Combinations

St. Louis Blues

Left WingCenterRight Wing
Brandon SaadRyan O’ReillyDavid Perron
Jordan KyrouBrayden Schenn Vladimir Tarasenko
Pavel BuchnevichLogan BrownIvan Barbashev
Mackenzie MacEachernOskar SundqvistAlexi Toropchenko
Left DefenseRight Defense
Marco Scandella Colton Parayko
Torey KrugJustin Faulk
Niko MikkolaRobert Bortuzzo
Starting Goalie
Ville Husso

Columbus Blue Jackets

Left WingCenterRight Wing
Gustav NyquistJack RoslovicPatrik Laine
Max DomiCole SillingerOliver Bjorkstrand
Jakub VoracekJustin DanforthYegor Chinakhov
Eric RobinsonSean KuralyEmil Benstrom
Left DefenseRight Defense
Zach WerenskiAndrew Peeke
Vladislav GavrikovJake Bean
Gabriel CarlssonDean Kukan
Starting Goalie
Joonas Korpisalo

Blues’ Next Game: Tuesday, March 22nd vs Washington Capitals (6 PM CST)

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