|4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT, February 2, 2019
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio Attendance: 18,681
Blues return from long break to face Blue Jackets
The St. Louis Blues have flown under the NHL radar -- or have been off of it -- for quite a while now, but that will change on Saturday night as the club attempts to begin a playoff push.
The Blues (22-22-5) will start play after a 10-day layoff when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena to conclude the season series. Columbus won 7-4 in St. Louis on Oct. 25.
However, now the Blues must figure out whether they are buyers or sellers as the Feb. 25 trade deadline looms. Defensemen Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester are players whose names have been bandied about as possible targets if the team decides to sell some top talent.
A quick look at the Western Conference standings shows the decision-making dilemma Blues general manager Doug Armstrong will encounter over the next few weeks.
Entering Friday, the Blues sat three points back of the second wild-card spot. Also, they have games in hand over all of the teams they are pursuing, so a good opportunity presents itself in Columbus as they start a well-traveled February.
"It's a grind. February's a tough month, lot of games, lot of road games," said coach Craig Berube, whose club plays nine of its 14 games away from home. "But we've been a good team on the road this year."
The Blues placed second-leading point scorer David Perron (upper body) on injured reserve on Thursday and called up forward Mackenzie MacEachern from the AHL's San Antonio Rampage. MacEachern, 24, has a goal and an assist in six games with St. Louis.
Columbus (28-19-3) lost for a season-high fourth straight time on Thursday, dropping a 4-3 decision in Winnipeg as the Jets rallied for a pair of goals in the third period -- the final one being Kyle Connor's game-winner with 1:14 remaining.
With center Boone Jenner sidelined, Columbus coach John Tortorella was vocal with the media before the game, claiming he only had one true center in his lineup -- top-liner Pierre-Luc Dubois. Tortorella later fumed over a borderline call while his team was on the power play and trying to score the go-ahead goal.
Locked in a 3-all third-period tie and with Winnipeg's Mark Scheifele off for delay of game, defenseman Zach Werenski smacked a slap shot into the back of the Jets' Brandon Tanev with five minutes left, and the winger fell awkwardly and writhed in pain. The officials halted play, and Tortorella voiced his disapproval, which worsened after Connor's late goal.
"It's a hard one for our guys, for sure," Tortorella said of the team's third straight one-goal loss in regulation. "They played hard and did a lot better job as far as what we asked of them in the battles. It's a tough one not to come away with anything."
Jenner will be out one to three weeks. The center suffered a cut to his ankle after blocking a shot on Jan. 12 and is sidelined with an infection to the laceration.
Top-line right wing Cam Atkinson took a ricocheted puck to the mouth in warmups, missed the game, received four stitches and had a tooth pushed back in, but he could return against St. Louis.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 1, 2019
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