Fair Share of Issues

The St. Louis Blues have certainly had their share of problems this season, but finding a way to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets at home has not been one of them.

Losers of three straight at Scottrade Center, the Blues look to finish the season undefeated against the Blue Jackets there as the teams get set to close the regular season with a home-and-home series.

Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made St. Louis -125 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 5 goals (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 51% of bets for this game have been placed on St. Louis –125 (View NHL Bet Percentages).

St. Louis (31-36-13), which has lost three straight and six of its last seven at home, will miss the postseason for the third straight year. But the Blues have been outstanding at Scottrade Center in three matchups versus the Blue Jackets (34-34-12), outscoring them 14-4 en route to wins in all three contests.

At Columbus, however, St. Louis is 0-3-0 and has been outscored 12-4. The Blues also have lost three straight overall, including 3-2 against Nashville on Thursday night.

St. Louis is 14th in the Western Conference, just four points ahead of last-place Los Angeles.

"We are just trying to win games," Blues coach Andy Murray said. "Our responsibility is to play all 82 games as hard as we can."

St. Louis played without goaltender Manny Legace on Thursday. He injured his hip flexor in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Predators on Tuesday night, and his status for the rest of the season is uncertain.

Hannu Toivonen would start in his place. He is 0-5-2 with a 4.26 goals-against average in his last seven games.

The Blues could use a strong effort in net, having played eight straight one-goal games and going just 2-4-2 over that span.

St. Louis' power play has struggled during that stretch, converting 11.1 percent (3-for-27) of its chances.

Columbus, meanwhile, has lost six straight on the road, scoring on 8.8 percent (3-for-43) of its opportunities with the man advantage. The Blue Jackets lost 3-2 at Detroit on Thursday night as the Red Wings wrapped up the Presidents' Trophy.

Overall, Columbus is 1-5-1 after winning its previous two.

The Blue Jackets got goalie Pascal Leclaire back versus Detroit after he missed the previous eight games due to a concussion. He made 36 saves and was spectacular throughout much of the contest before giving up the game-winner with 11 seconds left.

Leclaire, the eighth overall pick in the 2001 draft, has been a bright spot for Columbus. In his first season as a full-time starter, he has gone 24-16-6 with a 2.23 GAA in 53 games.

Leclaire, though, struggled in his only game at St. Louis this season, stopping 23 of 28 shots in a 5-1 loss on Feb. 17.

The Blue Jackets will look to some of their younger players as they try to end their offensive woes at Scottrade Center.

Against the Red Wings, Aaron Rome scored his first NHL goal. He was one of eight Blue Jackets who played in that game and have spent at least part of the season in Syracuse of the AHL.

The Blues and Blue Jackets will conclude the season Sunday at Columbus.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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