The St. Louis Blues will try to catch their second wind when they host the streaking Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night.
The Blues are 2-5-2 in their past nine games after blowing a two-goal lead over the host Chicago Blackhawks on Friday, eventually losing 3-2 in overtime.
“I thought the third period, we checked really well and created some offense off it, didn’t capitalize, a couple breakaways, some good opportunities,” Blues coach Craig Berube said.
“It seemed like we didn’t have much juice in the tank. I think we ran out of energy, it looked like to me. Execution was off. I think that was a big part of it, not very good execution.”
The Blues will need to regroup as they face the Blue Jackets, who beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-2 on Friday for their third straight victory and their fifth win in their past six games.
Columbus prevailed despite experiencing stretches of sluggish play.
“Some of these nights you’re not even mad, you can just tell they don’t have it,” Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen said. “For the guys, I’m thrilled they found a way to win it.”
When asked to spell out the issues his team had, Larsen quipped: “That’s turkey, cookies, cake. I don’t know …”
Blue Jackets forward Jakub Voracek registered his league-leading 14th primary assist on Friday, and he has 11 total assists in his past 11 games. Max Domi has two goals and three assists in his past three games after sealing the victory against Vancouver with an empty-net goal.
“This is a true team in every sense of the word,” Larsen said. “We’re gonna need guys to step up on different nights, and we’ve been getting that throughout our lineup.”
After briefly getting back to full strength, the Blues played without forwards James Neal (undisclosed) and Klim Kostin (upper-body injury) in Chicago. In addition, forward David Perron exited the game with an upper-body injury after taking a hard hit into the boards from Blackhawks defenseman Jake McCabe in the first period.
The Blues started the contest with 11 forwards and seven defensemen, so they had to finish with 10 forwards. Robert Bortuzzo moved up and played some on the wing.
“We’ve got a deep team,” Blues center Robert Thomas said. “We’ve got a lot of guys who can play with anyone, so that’s not an excuse. We’ve got to be better.”
The Blues have scored two goals or fewer in five of their last eight games. Vladimir Tarasenko, tied for second on the team with seven goals, hasn’t found the net in his past six games.
Since goaltender Jordan Binnington started Friday against the Blackhawks, the Blues will likely turn to back-up Ville Husso (2-1-0, 1.35 goals-against average) to start on Saturday.
The Blues Jackets started Elvis Merzlikins in the net at home against the Canucks — his sixth start in a seven-game span — so Joonas Korpisalo (3-3-0, 3.63 GAA) probably will get the call against the Blues in the second of back-to-back games.
–Field Level Media