Tonight the Blues will be in Columbus facing off against the Blue Jackets who have lost their two post-all-star games as well as four in a row. Prior to this losing streak, they had won four in a row and seven of eight. They are 14-10-2 at home on the season and sit in the 2nd wild card spot as I write this.
The Blue Jackets score at a rate that is 9th best in the league but give up goals at a rate that is 19th. Their penalty kill and power play are opposites, having the 6th best penalty kill and the 6th worst power play.
Free-agent-to-be and Vladimir Tarasenko friend Artemi Panarin leads the Blue Jackets with 57 points in 48 games. Cam Atkinson has been very good this year with 50 points and 28 goals in 48 games. One Blue Jacket player that Blues fans should pay attention to is Pierre-Luc Dubois who has 45 points and 18 goals. Another is Seth Jones who leads the Blue Jackets defensive core with 31 points in 43 games.
Joonas Korpisalo gets the nod in net tonight. Korpisalo has been on fire since December 27th with a 1.90 goals against average and a 93.2% save since then. The Blue Jackets will be without Boone Jenner. Brandon Dubinsky left the morning skate and may also be unavailable.
The Blues activated Robert Thomas who will be inserted right back into the lineup. Speaking of the lineup, Coach Berube is turning to Jordan Binnington again. Binnington has a 92.4% save percentage while going 5-1-1. The full lineup is expected to look like this:
Schenn - O'Reilly – Tarasenko
Schwartz - Bozak – Steen
Sanford - Sundqvist - Maroon
MacEachern - Barbashev - Thomas
Gunnarsson - Pietrangelo
Bouwmeester - Parayko
Dunn - Edmundson
Robby Fabbri will be a healthy scratch again. Fabbri really has struggled this season, posting only 5 points in 23 games and not even averaging a shot and a half per game. He and Schwartz have combined for only 5 goals this year. Speaking of Schwartz, if he doesn’t score tonight, his shooting percentage will likely fall below 3%. His shooting percentage is falling so low. If it falls the rest of the year, will it be known as the Schwartz line much like the Mendoza line in baseball? You would hope that it will start regressing back to the mean and he will start scoring goals in bunches.
NHL Champions for Charity
We’ve gotten some traction on the charity wager among the Central Division bloggers. The fourth charity I’ll highlight is United Heroes League https://unitedheroesleague.org/
from your Wild’s Blogger Dan Wallace
. United Heroes League works to ensure that children of military members are afforded every opportunity to participate in sports.
It’s a great day for hockey.