Saturday, November 5, 2016

(11-5-16) Blue Jackets-Blues Gameday Lineup

ST. LOUIS -- So, what are the Blues thinking about facing the Columbus Blue Jackets, 24 hours after they waxed the Montreal Canadiens by 10 goals?

Not a lot.

And it's probably for the best, because if the Blues (5-4-2) think too much about what the Blue Jackets (5-3-1) did on Friday instead of trying to fix the things that ail them, it could be another long night for the home team.

But instead, the Blues, who host the Blue Jackets at 6 p.m. (FS-MW, KMOX 1120-AM), will look at what they can do to fix their goal-scoring woes (two goals or less in seven of the past eight games and one goal or less in six of eight) rather than fixate themselves on the Jackets' record-setting 10-0 win against the previously unbeaten (in regulation) Canadiens on Friday.

"Nothing," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said when asked what he takes out of scouting Friday's game. "No, we're basing on the Dallas game (a 3-2 overtime win by the Jackets last Tuesday). That's what we're basing on. We know Dallas, we know the way Dallas played them, we saw what Dallas did well against them and what they did well in the second half of the game (Thursday). That's got to be our measuring stick. Throw out last night, from our standpoint. It was a great night for them obviously, but from our standpoint, we've got to throw it out and focus on the Dallas game."

The Blue Jackets, who have won five of seven games (5-1-1) after starting the season with consecutive regulation losses, remained hot and set multiple club records after becoming the first team to defeat the Montreal Canadiens in regulation.

They set a franchise record for goals in a game. Columbus is the first team to score 10 goals in an NHL regular-season game since the Blues defeated the Detroit Red Wings 10-3 on March 30, 2011 and are the first team to post a shutout when scoring at least 10 goals since the Calgary Flames defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 10-0 on Jan. 2, 1996. 

"I'm just glad we got out of it injury-free," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella told the team website after the game Friday. "... It happens. If you're on the other side of it, all it is is a tick in the win column and it's one tick in the loss column. No matter what the score is, that's all it is is a tick. We'll take the win and go and get ready to play against a good St. Louis team."

Center Paul Stastny said with a laugh, "Hottest team in the NHL. Any time anyone beats Montreal, it's their first regulation loss, so you have to respect these guys, they're playing well, coming off a couple big wins for them. We'll be ready to go. We don't worry about who we're playing, we have to worry about what we have in the game plan and execute it."

The Blues will be mindful, and alert.

Columbus was 4-for-5 on the power play to improve its league-leading percentage to 44 percent (11-for-25).

"A couple key things," defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. "You've got to keep them off the power play. I know from experience when you have a game like that and your power play's clicking, you feel like you're on top of the world and you can make any play. We've got to watch out because they're going to have confidence there. We've been taking a lot of penalties lately and we've got to make sure our discipline's in line."

Hitchcock has been there before. He knows how Canadiens coach Michel Therrien must have felt.

"I remember it intimately ... and I was depressed because it was my 1,000th game coaching and then I was down 5-0 before they even gave me the award on the video," Hitchcock said of a 9-1 loss against the Detroit Red Wings when he was coaching Columbus on Nov. 11, 2009.

"What did it end up, 9- or 10-1? Mike Babcock had me celebrate that milestone," Hitchcock added. "I remember that. 

"I've got to tell you from a coaching standpoint, it is the loneliest feeling when you're standing on the bench. At least Michel got to do it on the road, but I had it at home and it's like, you're in the building and everybody is staring at you. It is a terrible feeling and then you've got to recover. ... I have never felt more appreciated and more lonely in my life because if you remember, Pat Burns came out of his sick bed to present me with the vase and then before he even sat in his seat, it was five-zip or something like that."

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Speaking of the Blues being the last team before Columbus to score 10 goals, both Shattenkirk and Alex Pietrangelo were on the team that night at Joe Louis Arena.

"I was zero's across the board," Pietrangelo said.

But Shattenkirk almost cost Patrik Berglund some cash.

"It should have been 11-3, but I got in a little scuffle with (Johan) Franzen right as I believe 'Bergy' was scoring on a 3-on-1," Shattenkirk said. "I believe it was 'Bergy,' 'Stewy' (Chris Stewart) and 'Sobe' (Vladimir Sobotka), and they put the puck in and the goal was called back because I was trying to fight Franzen. 

"The goal would have been 'Bergy's bonus goal and they took it back, but he scored later in the game to get it, so somehow I made it out of there unscathed."

- - -

The Blues will make one lineup change, inserting Ryan Reaves in on the fourth line and scratching Nail Yakupov for the first time.

After starting the season with four points in six games after the Blues acquired him from the Edmonton Oilers on Oct. 7, Yakupov has no points in the past five games.

"We've got lots of choices," Hitchcock said. "We've got 14 forwards and everybody's going to play this weekend, so we'll just figure it out from there. If he doesn't play today, he'll be back in there tomorrow. It's not a big deal."

The Blues host the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday.

- - -

Carter Hutton will get his third start of the season tonight.

Hutton is coming off a 4-1 loss to the Calgary Flames on Oct. 25. He beat the New York Rangers 3-2 in his Blues debut on Oct. 15 and hopes to inject some life into the lineup.

"Just play a complete game," Hutton said. "We show flashes of it but we haven't been able to put it together completely. I think that's something we'll focus on. Get back to a hard-working mentality and doing the right things and that will lead us to success.

"... Of course, you always try to contribute any way you can. Sometimes it's not how many you make it's just the timeliness of them. For me, you can't really go out there and try to win the game yourself, just go out there and whatever game they throw at you, do your best to compete and give your team a chance to win."

Hutton has a 2.47 goals-against average and .918 save percentage.

- - -

The Blues' projected lineup:

David Perron-Patrik Berglund-Alexander Steen

Jaden Schwartz-Jori Lehtera-Vladimir Tarasenko

Robby Fabbri-Paul Stastny-Dmitrij Jaskin

Scottie Upshall-Kyle Brodziak-Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester-Alex Pietrangelo

Carl Gunnarsson-Kevin Shattenkirk

Joel Edmundson-Colton Parayko

Carter Hutton will start in goal; Jake Allen will be the backup.

Healthy scratches include Nail Yakupov and Ty Rattie. Robert Bortuzzo (lower body) is still on injured-reserve.

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The Blue Jackets' projected lineup:

Brandon Saad-Alexander Wennberg-Nick Foligno

Boone Jenner-Brandon Dubinsky-Cam Atkinson

Scott Hartnell-Lukas Sedlak-Sam Gagner

Matt Calvert-William Karlsson-Josh Anderson

Zach Werenski-Seth Jones

Ryan Murray-Jack Johnson

Markus Nutivaara-David Savard

Curtis McElhinney is the projected starter tonight; Sergei Bobrovsky would be the backup

Healthy scratches include Dalton Prout, Scott Harrington and Sonny Milano. David Clarkson (back) and Dillon Heatherington (wrist) are out.

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