Coming off a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center, the St. Louis Blues are back at home for the first time this preseason to take on the Columbus Blue Jackets in preseason game number four.
The Blues made easy work of the rival Blackhawks on Tuesday evening. Even though they were outshot 32 to 22, the goaltending for St. Louis is what proved to be the biggest X-Factor in this game. Jordan Binnington got the start and played the first two periods, stopping 20 of 21 shots. The third period belonged to rookie Vadim Zherenko, who stopped all 11 shots he faced.
On a down note, defenseman Scott Perunovich left this game with an upper-body injury after taking a hit in the second period. He will be reevaluated, but as of now, the exact injury and its severity are unknown. Keep in mind, he missed a good chunk of last season due to a wrist injury.
St. Louis Blues Anticipated Lineup
The Blues thinned out their roster on Wednesday by sending five players to their respective junior teams: forward Landon Sim, defensemen Michael Buchinger, Tyson Galloway and Marc-Andre Gaudet, and goaltender Will Cranley. A few more veterans are expected to make their preseason debuts tonight. Here is the projected lineup for tonight’s match:
- Pavel Buchnevich – Robert Thomas – Vladimir Tarasenko
- Jake Neighbours – Brayden Schenn – Jordan Kyrou
- Nathan Walker – Noel Acciari – Tyler Pitlick
- Zachary Bolduc – Hugh McGing – Klim Kostin
- Torey Krug – Justin Faulk
- Niko Mikkola – Robert Bortuzzo
- Tyler Tucker – Brady Lyle
- Thomas Greiss – Colten Ellis
Columbus Blues Jackets Anticipated Lineup
The Blue Jackets have not released their projected lines for this game, but we do know who will be playing. They won’t be sending Johnny Gaudreau or Patrik Laine to the ice tonight, but there are still a handful of veterans set to play – including former Blues forward James Neal.
- Gustav Nyquist, Brendan Gaunce, Justin Danforth, James Neal, Josh Dunne, Mathieu Olivier, Cole Fonstad, Victor Rask, Yegor Chinakhov, James Malatesta, Jordan Dumais, Owen Sillinger
- Billy Sweezey, Gavin Bayreuther, Jake Bean, Marcus Bjork, Cole Clayton, Tim Berni
- Pavel Cajan – Nolan Lalonde
Quick Look at the Blue Jackets
Like the Blues, the Blue Jackets have come out the gates well in the preseason and are undefeated in two games. The unanticipated signing of Johnny Gaudreau this summer injected some much-needed life into this organization, which previously had a reputation as a place where players did not want to sign. The franchise also extended Patrik Laine in the offseason, ensuring he and Gaudreau are Blue Jackets through the 2025-26 season.
The Blue Jackets boast a number of rookies in their organization that have an outside chance at cracking their roster, including 2021 first-round forward Kent Johnson (5th overall), 2022 third-round forward Jordan Dumais (96th overall), 2022 first-round defensemen David Jiricek (6th overall), and Denton Mateychuk (12th overall). Cole Sillinger (2021 first round, 12th overall) is currently day-to-day with an upper-body injury but should be on the NHL roster on opening night.
Who to Watch
St. Louis Blues: Robert Thomas
Tonight’s game will be Robert Thomas’ first action of the preseason. Fresh off of signing an 8-year, $65 million extension in July, Blues fans will get their first glimpse at their new face of the franchise. Thomas set career-highs in 2021-22 in goals (20), assists (57), points (77), and average time on ice (18:46), as well as highs in a slew of other categories. He’ll be on the first line tonight along with Buchnevich and Tarasenko — a likely preview of what this line will look like come the regular season.
Columbus Blue Jackets: James Neal
James Neal is once again in camp under the guise of a professional tryout contract (PTO). Blues fans will remember that Neal joined the Blues prior to the beginning of last season in the same fashion, ultimately earning a roster spot out of camp. Entering his 15th NHL season, he’ll be looking to carve out a role for himself with the Blue Jackets and take a roster spot.
Where You Can Catch the Game
Columbus Blue Jackets @ St. Louis Blues – 7:00 PM
This is the first home preseason game for the St. Louis Blues this season. Fans can catch the game in person at the Enterprise Center. Also a first for this season, this game will be on Bally Sports via your cable provider (Bally Sports channel, Bally Sports app, BallySports.com) or through the brand-new Bally Sports+ subscription service. The game is also available over the air on 101 ESPN and the Blues App.
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Marcus Ashpaugh is a husband, father, coach, and a huge sports fan. He has had a few of his own websites in the past where he published pieces about both the Kansas City Royals and the St. Louis Blues.