|5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)20:00 ET21:00 BRT, November 1, 2019
Enterprise Center, St. Louis, Missouri Attendance: 18,096
Blues, Blue Jackets encounter problems, each other
The St. Louis Blues will continue searching for front-line improvements when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night.
The Blues have won two of three games since losing winger Vladimir Tarasenko, who will be sidelined for five months due to shoulder surgery.
Winger Sammy Blais got another crack at top-six forward duty against the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday night after recovering from a minor thumb injury. Blais scored a goal in the 2-1 victory, but he also took two offensive zone penalties and accidentally shot the puck on his own net once.
He has been playing in Tarasenko's place on a line with Brayden Schenn and Jaden Schwartz.
Second-year forward Robert Thomas could also play a bigger role, but he wasn't as noticeable as Blais against the Wild while playing on the third line with Tyler Bozak and Alexander Steen.
"Robert Thomas has gotta play better and he will," coach Craig Berube said after Thursday's practice. "Coming off his injuries it's taken a little bit longer. But guys just gotta pick their game up a little bit because we need contributions from everybody."
Another forward who could see a bigger role is Robby Fabbri, but he fell out of the lineup mix this week despite Tarasenko's injury.
"He's just gotta stay ready for sure," Berube said. "But I just didn't see enough I guess in the last game and went with a different guy. Blais is ready to go. He's played well this year. He felt good and he was ready to go."
The Blue Jackets will be seeking defensive improvements after losing to the Philadelphia Flyers 7-4 and Edmonton Oilers 4-1 in their last two games. Goaltender Joonas Korpisalo has allowed eight goals in his last two-plus periods.
Overall, Korpisalo has a 3.37 goals-against average and an .886 save percentage.
"We're certainly not going to panic here," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella told reporters after the Flyers loss. "If you're going to lose a game, to get spanked like that, maybe that's even better going about it that way -- and I think our guys are smart enough to know what we are and what really is our standard, as far as our effort, because that's something you can control."
But he saw more of the same against the Oilers. "I thought we'd play better," Tortorella said after that game. "We didn't."
The Blue Jackets are also looking for improvements on their power play, which converted just five of 38 opportunities in their first 12 games. They failed to convert a key five-on-three opportunity against Edmonton.
"Our power play's not really clicking yet and that's where a lot of defensemen get points," defenseman Zach Werenski told the Columbus Dispatch. "I don't really judge my play too much on that.
"Defensively, though, it's been a lot better. I've been a lot more comfortable defensively. Points seem like they're pretty hard to come by, but that's part of the game."
The Blue Jackets are dealing with the loss of winger Alexandre Texier (knee injury) and defenseman Ryan Murray (hand injury). Jakob Lilja played in Texier's place against the Oilers and Markus Nutivaara worked in Murray's spot.
--Field Level Media
Updated October 31, 2019