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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, April 12th (All times Eastern)
St. Louis Blues (23-14-2) at Columbus Blue Jackets (17-16-7), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The St. Louis Blues look to push their winning streak to seven straight games on Friday night when they visit the playoff-hopeful Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Blues' longest winning streak of the season is also their longest since winning seven in a row from Oct. 22-Nov. 7, 2010. It has also come at a great time as St. Louis has surged into the sixth spot in the Western Conference, one point behind the San Jose Sharks and six up on the ninth-place Phoenix Coyotes.
While the Blues have only scored four goals over their last three games, it has been enough thanks to Brian Elliott, who posted his third straight shutout on Thursday night with a 2-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild.
Elliott made 23 saves to record his 21st career shutout. He has been on fire since Jaroslav Halak went down with a groin injury on April 1 and has not allowed a goal in 189 minutes and 31 seconds. He set an individual club record last season with a shutout span of 241:33.
His current shutout string has come on the road, breaking Jacques Plante's club road mark of 141:19 set during 1968-69 season.
"Don't wanna jinx him," Blues captain David Backes told NHL.com after Thursday night's win. "We want to knock on wood after every interview, but he's been a battler for us, lays it on the line and has worked his butt off to get back into the shape he's in, as far as having that confidence, and knowing that every time he's in the net, we're going to have a great performance."
As a team, the Blues have not allowed a goal in their last 201:24, just nine seconds shy of the team record of 201:32 set last season from March 21-29. St. Louis is also closing in on the team road record of 196:15 set from Dec. 14, 1968-Jan. 3, 1969.
St. Louis has not allowed a power-play goal in eight straight games, killing off all 19 penalties in that span. That is another streak it will look to keep going tonight as head coach Ken Hitchcock tries for the 600th win of his career.
Despite Elliott's current run, Hitchcock has previously said that rookie Jake Allen will start tonight's game that closes out a four-game swing.
The Blue Jackets hope that works in their favor as they try to move closer to a playoff spot. They are tied for 10th in the West with 41 points, three back of the eighth-seeded Detroit Red Wings.
Columbus has gone 12-4-5 in its last 21 games and snapped a two-game slide with Tuesday's 4-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks. That recent mini-skid included a 3-1 loss at St. Louis last Friday.
However, Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves on Tuesday to notch the fourth shutout of his career -- all this season -- and Marian Gaborik had a goal and an assist. The forward has logged two goals and five points in four games since being acquired from the New York Rangers.
James Wisniewski, Matt Calvert and Ryan Johansen also lit the lamp in the victory.
"We realize we have to win some hockey games," Calvert said. "We're not out of the race yet."
The Blue Jackets, though, have yet to win a game versus the Blues this season, losing the first three of four scheduled regular-season meetings by a 9-3 margin.
St. Louis has won 10 of the previous 12 encounters overall and six of the last eight in Columbus.
04/12 11:07:13 ET