The Columbus Blue Jackets (42-28-5) host the St. Louis Blues (41-28-5) at Nationwide Arena in a matchup between two teams trying to scrounge up as many points as possible as the regular season comes to an end. Puck drop is scheduled for shortly after 7:00 PM ET.
It’s no secret that the Blue Jackets are getting hot at the right time of the year. They enter tonight’s contest against the Blues in the midst of a 10-game winning streak. After Thursday’s victory over the Florida Panthers, John Tortorella told reporters that his team is more focused on the fight to get into the postseason than the streak.
The Blues come into Columbus in a battle of their own to make the playoffs in the Western Conference. They too are streaking: winners of four straight games, all in overtime. Their latest victory came in St. Louis last night, making tonight’s game their second in consecutive nights.
On paper, this CBJ-Blues matchup appears to be pretty even. The Jackets average 2.8 goals per game compared to the Blues’ 2.7. Both teams have allowed an average of 2.7 goals against this season. The similarities continue on special teams as well, with each club converting on under 16% of their power-play opportunities and both being in the bottom half of the league on the penalty kill.
The Blues and Blue Jackets each feature scoring defensemen too. Both Seth Jones and Alex Pietrangelo have registered 15 goals and 35 assists this season, which is just one goal behind Calgary’s Dougie Hamilton for the top spot in the National Hockey League. An honorable mention for the CBJ is Zach Werenski, who’s not far behind with 14 goals.
Hot goaltending is another trend these two squads share in common. Sergei Bobrovsky is coming off a shutout on Thursday and will likely be between the pipes for the CBJ tonight. In net for St. Louis will likely be Jake Allen, who’s started each of their last eight games due to the absence of Carter Hutton. Allen’s gone 6-2 with a 2.00 goals-allowed average and .916 save percentage in those eight starts.
The Blue Jackets defeated a desperate Florida team on Thursday and face a similar opponent tonight at Nationwide Arena against St. Louis. The CBJ offense is averaging 4.2 goals per game during their winning streak and the goaltenders are allowing just 2.2: a good recipe for gaining points that are so valuable at this time of the year.