Srsly? No GDT yet?
The St. Louis Blues have used fast starts over the years to dominate the Columbus Blue Jackets at home.
The Blues will try to win their ninth straight home game against the Blue Jackets when the Central Division rivals meet Saturday night.
St. Louis (24-22-8) has not lost at home to Columbus (21-26-9) since a 4-1 defeat March 27, 2007. The Blue Jackets have scored 11 goals during this slide and have never led, with seven of the losses coming in regulation.
A key to these matchups has been the Blues’ first-period domination, outscoring the Blue Jackets 14-4.
Columbus has conceded the first goal in the first four minutes in three of its last four visits. That was the case Jan. 12 when B.J. Crombeen scored less than two minutes into a 4-1 victory as part of a three-goal outburst in the opening period.
“The first period was what killed us,” Blue Jackets star Rick Nash said after the loss. “The first 10 minutes they took it to us.”
Columbus, however, has won twice at home against St. Louis this season. This is the third meeting in 19 days, with the Blue Jackets winning 4-2 at home Jan. 18.
The Blues are playing better since Davis Payne took over as coach for Andy Murray before a 6-3 home loss to Chicago on Jan. 2. St. Louis is 7-5-2 under Payne, winning two of three on the road after a 2-1 victory at Edmonton on Thursday.
Chris Mason made 25 saves to end his personal three-game slide and Alex Steen scored on the Blues’ lone shot of a third period in which they were outshot 10-1.
“It was a tough game for us,” Mason said. “We didn’t play probably as well as we liked but we stuck with it and we were lucky enough to keep them off the scoreboard in the third period.”
Mason has posted a 1.82 goals-against average in winning his last seven home starts against the Blue Jackets, including three with St. Louis.
Last season, St. Louis posted the best record in the Western Conference over the final 41 games to clinch its first playoff berth in four seasons. The Blues know they need a similar push this season.
“We desperately need wins right now,” defenseman Eric Brewer said. “We are in a long drive here. We’ve made up a little ground, but it seems like everybody is winning games. You have to get points every night if you want to make up any ground. All we were concerned with was getting the two points.”
Columbus starts a two-game trip after a 4-1 home loss to Los Angeles on Thursday. Steve Mason continued his woes by saving 14 of 18 shots to fall to 13-18-6 with a 3.28 GAA after going 33-20-7 as a rookie to win the Calder Trophy last season.
“We got discouraged, lost our intensity and stopped doing the (good) things we were doing,” coach Ken Hitchcock said. “As soon as we got scored on, we lost our energy.”