The Columbus Blue Jackets (28-19-3) will be back home at Nationwide Arena tonight to take on the St. Louis Blues (22-22-5) in their third game back from their 10-day break. Puck drop is scheduled for shortly after 7:00 PM ET.
After dropping their last two games before the break and their first two since then, the CBJ find themselves entering tonight’s contest in fourth place in the Metropolitan Division and losers of four straight games.
Following Tuesday’s loss at home to the Buffalo Sabres, Head Coach John Tortorella ripped his team for their sloppy play despite losing by just one goal.
The team brought a better effort to Manitoba when they took on the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday, but was dealt a similar result falling by one to the top team in the Central Division.
Now back in Columbus tonight and facing the Blues, the Jackets are looking to get back on track. There’s obviously some uncertainty surrounding the team regarding the future of arguably their two best players, but there are a reasons for optimism:
- Cam Atkinson, who was a last-minute scratch on Thursday after taking a puck to the face in pregame warmups, should be back in the lineup tonight against St. Louis.
- Speaking of St. Louis, in the two games since the club hired Martin St. Louis to get the power play going, the CBJ have converted on two of five man advantages.
- Despite the distraction, Artemi Panarin continues to produce, scoring once and adding three assists in the last two games.
- The Jackets had lost two straight games going into their first contest against the Blues this season, then won 7-4 in St. Louis.
Things are certainly getting interesting for the Blue Jackets, who are within striking distance of the top spot in the division despite the unknowns that lie ahead. First things first though, and that’s tonight’s game against the Blues. Stay tuned.