Blue Jackets vs. Blues Preview

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ST. LOUIS, MO (AP) - The Columbus Blue Jackets began this road trip with a franchise-record six straight wins away from home as they eyed their second playoff berth. Four losses later, those hopes appear to be gone.

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The Blue Jackets look to salvage the finale of their trip Monday night against the St. Louis Blues, who like Columbus have lost four in a row going into the opener of this home-and-home set.

Columbus (31-26-7) is 0-3-1 on its trip and in 12th place in the Western Conference. The Blue Jackets appear to be well out of contention, although they have at least one game in hand on every team in the West.

According to NHL odds and oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Blues -127 money line favorites for Monday's game against the Blue Jackets. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 82% of more than 102 bets for this game have been placed on the Blues -127.

The frustrating road swing has seen the Blue Jackets lose three times by one goal and once by two goals due to an empty-netter. Columbus has failed to convert three penalty shots the last two games, two of them coming in a 4-3 defeat to Calgary on Friday.

"You get that many penalty shots like we have in the last little stretch here, you'd think sooner or later the odds are that you're going to score on it,'' coach Scott Arniel said.

The Blue Jackets outshot the Flames 16-4 in the final period, but missed a chance to tie when Antoine Vermette's penalty shot was stopped by Miikka Kiprusoff.

"If you're going to try and make it to the next level and get to the playoffs, you have to find a way to beat these guys and we had more than our share of opportunities to equal that game tonight,'' Arniel said. ``We peppered them pretty good in the third."

Steve Mason fell to 0-2-1 with a 3.33 goals-against average on the trip. Mason came into the road stretch 7-1-0 with a 1.76 GAA in his previous eight starts.

Captain Rick Nash has no points on the trip after collecting 10 during the 5-0-1 overall stretch that preceded it.

Nash has recorded seven points during a six-game run against St. Louis (28-28-9). The Blue Jackets have taken two of three from the Blues, winning in regulation for the first time in their last 12 at the Scottrade Center with a 5-2 victory Jan. 22.

St. Louis has been outscored 15-4 during its losing streak. The Blues fell 5-2 on the road to the New York Islanders on Saturday.

"Not enough intensity," coach Davis Payne said. "We believe we have the right kind of players. We just need the right kind of effort."

David Backes leads the Blues with 23 goals and is second with 46 points, but he hasn't recorded a point in five games.

"Everything is wrong," Backes said. "It's not very enjoyable to be here every day."

The Central Division's worst teams meet again Wednesday in Columbus. Special teams could be key as the Blues are 1 for 17 on the power play in the season series while the Blue Jackets are 4 for 9.

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