By LOUIE KORAC
ST. LOUIS -- Barret Jackman's got the reputation around the locker room that something's really got to be bothering him for the veteran d-man to miss a game.
Jackman will sit out tonight's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets (7 p.m. on FSN, KMOX 1120-AM) after suffering a lower-body injury in Thursday's 4-3 overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings. Jackman is listed as day-to-day.
The Blues (22-17-7) will not recall a d-man from Peoria, and will go with Tyson Strachan in the lineup tonight.
"When Jax can't go, you know there's something going on there," Blues coach Davis Payne said. "He's a guy that battles through a lot. He's got a high tolerance, high threshold. Unfortunately, he's unable to go tonight. Strachs will go in. He played very well out on the road trip in LA and another chance for him to contribute again."
Said Strachan, "You know what they say about Jax, he'd probably have a nail through his head and he'd go out there and play. He's a warrior and obviously he tweaked something. At this point in the season, it's probably alright for him just to rest it for a game or whatever it takes here. It's a nice opportunity for me and hopefully, Barret can rehab quick and get back here and help out the team as well."
Strachan has suited up in 20 games this season, with one assist and a minus-7 rating to go with his resume. In 56 career games, he has six assists and is plus-4.
"Just excited to get in and help out the team," Strachan said. "... Obviously, I'm minus-7 on the year, which is frustrating. That's always been a good stat for me. Overall in my career, I'm still a plus player.
"Something like that's frustrating, but overall, I think I've played well, stood up for my teammates when I needed to and brought the type of game that I think can help the team."
"He's solid and steady," Payne said. "When a guy's been sitting out, there's usually a response coming back into the lineup. He knows that these are opportunities for him. We expect the same type of game we got out of him in LA."
It appears that Jackman, who missed nine games earlier this season with a sprained right knee, injured himself in the final minute of regulation Thursday after mixing it up with the Wings' Justin Abdelkader.
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Vladimir Sobotka, who has five assists in the last 10 games, completes the second line with Patrik Berglund and T.J. Oshie by offering up a variety qualities that Payne feels is a good fit.
What does Payne want from Sobotka?
"For him to play his game," the Blues' coach said. "With Sobe, it doesn't really matter if he's centering the fourth line or he's playing wing on the first line, he's out there playing an intelligent game. It's a pursuit game, it's an inside space game, he's strong on the puck, he's strong on the forecheck. With possession of the puck, he is able to move. He's got good quickness in a lot of different directions to kind of just extend plays, open up a little bit of space that he can get passes through. I'd like to see him shoot a little bit more, but he's a guy who understands the offensive game to the point where he makes you think you're going one way and he's able to get a pass across to a guy like Bergy or whoever his linemates may be."
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The Blues held an optional morning skate today, with roughly half the lineup out there skating.
The probable lineup includes:
Alex Steen-David Backes-Brad Boyes
Vladimir Sobotka-Patrik Berglund-T.J. Oshie
Brad Winchester-Jay McClement-Matt D'Agostini
B.J. Crombeen-Philip McRae-Ryan Reaves
On the backline:
Eric Brewer-Erik Johnson
Alex Pietrangelo-Roman Polak
Ian Cole-Tyson Strachan
Jaroslav Halak, 2-1-1 with a 2.87 GAA and .904 save percentage in his career against the Jackets, will be in goal.
Keep an eye out for Steen, who has points in 20 of the last 24 games including six straight. He has 12 points in 16 career games against Columbus.
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The Blue Jackets (22-20-5) come into town on the final leg of a four-game trip. Columbus has gone to overtime or a shootout in the last four games, winning two.
But this has been a house of horrors for the Jackets coming to Scottrade Center. The Jackets are 1-8-2 here in the previous 11 meetings, including a 4-1 loss to the Blues on Dec. 9.
"It's a team that really comes out of their own zone with a great deal of speed, so we've got to make sure that we've got numbers to defend that," Payne said. "Obviously, the top line with (Derick) Brassard and (Rick) Nash are pretty hot right now. They've been finding their way back into games and making sure that they've always got a chance. We know that they've got pretty good resolve going right now within their game."
The Jackets' probable lineup includes:
Rick Nash-Derick Brassard-Jakub Voracek
Kristian Huselius-Antoine Vermette-R.J. Umberger
Andrew Murray-Samuel Pahlsson-Derek Dorsett
Matt Calvert-Derek McKenzie-Jared Boll
Their blue liners include:
Jan Hejda-Marc Methot
Fedor Tjutin-Rostislav Klesla
Kris Russell-Grant Clitsome
Steve Mason, 3-5-1 with a 2.99 GAA and .886 save percentage in his career against the Blues, gets the start in goal.