|ST. LOUIS BLUES|
10–7–3 (23 points; .575%)
ROSTER / SCHEDULE
8 P.M. – SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 27
ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI
BALLY SPORTS OHIO
The city of Columbus has a big road game Saturday.
No, not that one.
The Blue Jackets will seek their first four-game winning streak in nearly three years Saturday evening when they travel to St. Louis for a battle with the Blues.
Columbus sits at 12-6-0 on the season, a start few (if any) saw coming. For the second time this year, the club is on a three-game winning streak — something they did not accomplish at all during the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season.
A win Saturday would match their best streak since January 2019, when the Blue Jackets won six straight, with goalie Elvis Merzlikins picking up three shutouts in the process. Merzlikins is hot again, saving 75 of 77 total shots in victories over Winnipeg on Wednesday and Vancouver on Friday.
Standing in their way are the Blues, a team that has won just two of their nine games but remains lethal, especially on the power play. Coming off a frustrating overtime loss on the road against the Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis returns to the Enterprise Center with two points on their mind.
|38.3%||MONEYPUCK'S ODDS TO WIN||61.7%|
|40.0%||THE 538'S ODDS TO WIN||60.0%|
|109.3||82 GAME POINT PACE||94.3|
Know The Foe
The Blues have plenty of skill on the offensive side of the puck, with Vladimir Tarasenko and David Perron leading the wing corp. Youngsters Jordan Kyrou (23) and Robert Thomas (22) are also having breakout seasons, with the duo combining for 38 points through the Blues' first 20 games.
Keeping the puck out of the net has been a struggle in the month of November for the Blues, though. In 12 of their last 13 games, St. Louis has given up multiple goals — and in ten of those, they've given up three or more. That averages nearly a half goal higher than their season average, and the 3.15 goals per game in November would rank bottom ten amongst the league.
STAY AWAY FROM THE SIN BIN
The Blues have a potent power play. Their 30.4% conversion rate up a man is second in the league behind only the Edmonton Oilers, and the Blues have the skill players to keep it up. Perron, Pavel Buchnevich, and former Blue Jacket Brandon Saad each have three power play goals on the season. Columbus has an above-average penalty kill on the season, but not by much. Staying out of the penalty box will be critical for the young Blue Jackets.
ABOUT THAT POWER PLAY—
It may not be as good as the 5th Line would like to believe. Four of the Blue Jackets ten power play goals this season have come against the Arizona Coyotes, and Columbus has only faced two penalty kills all season who are currently ranked in top ten. Patrik Laine being out of the lineup is an obvious difference maker, but with his return still two to three weeks away, the Blue Jackets need someone to step up and become a power play threat.
SOME VLADDY LOVE
There are just eight players in the NHL who have a better plus/minus than Vladislav Gavrikov, and half of them aren't defensemen. The freshly-turned 26-year-old has a team-leading 32 blocks and the pairing of him and Andrew Peeke — a combination that has shared the ice for nearly two hours this season — have an expected goals against of just 2.29.
It's more than that though. Gavrikov picked up his 11th point of the season in Friday's win over Vancouver, and in 18 games this season is just a single point shy of matching his 2020-21 total of 12 points in 55 games. Gavrikov is quietly putting together a nice season on both sides of the puck, and is worth an eye when he takes the ice Saturday.
LW C RW 59 Yegor Chinakhov 34 Cole Sillinger 93 Jakub Voracek 14 Gustav Nyquist 38 Boone Jenner 28 Oliver Bjorkstrand 15 Gregory Hofmann 96 Jack Roslovic 16 Max Domi 50 Eric Robinson 7 Sean Kuraly 42 Alexandre Texier LD RD 8 Zach Werenski 22 Jake Bean 44 Vladislav Gavrikov 2 Andrew Peeke 5 Gavin Bayreuther 27 Adam Boqvist Starting Goalie Backup 90 Elvis Merzlikins 70 Joonas Korpisalo
*subject to change