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It was a hard fought game through two periods, and you couldn't help but feel good with the Blues only down a goal going into the third period. But getting the next goal was critical for the Blues and it just did not happen.

Erik Johnson committed a cardinal sin in the defensive zone: he passed the puck to the middle in his own zone. Unfortunately, the pass went straight to a Columbus player, who put it on net, and after a mass scramble for the puck, Chris Clark scored the goal that seemingly put the Blues away.

It was definitely a tough goal to swallow and a very frustrating goal that should have never been scored. The goal gave Columbus a 2-goal lead just 1:25 into the third period. So whatever momentum and confidence the Blues had coming into the period was crushed, and you could tell by the way the Blues played the next 10 minutes that it did deflate them.

The Blues did play pretty solid in the first two periods, but they could not build on an early goal by Paul Kariya and keep the lead. Back-to-back goals by Raffi Torres in the first put the Jackets ahead. But after Keith Tkachuk tied the game, the Blues started to control the play heading to the end of the second, naturally looking to carry on that momentum in the third.

But that fourth goal all but lost them the game as soon as it crossed the line.

It's a game the Blues really needed. Eight points out of a playoff spot and riding a four game win-streak, playing on the road where they play very well. The Blues had been 9-2 in their last 11 games against Columbus but both games there this year have been losses and painful ones that the Blues gave away. R.J. Umberger scoring a hat trick in the previous game.

It still seems like the Blues' second-half surge is finally coming around. Through 48 games this year, they are 21-20-7, last year through 48 games, they were 20-24-4. The Blues are ahead of their pace from last year, and with a very tight and competitive Western Conference, they may need to have a much stronger push this year.

The Blues' game in Columbus started a very tough stretch where they will play six of seven games on the road, facing Montreal and Ottawa next, then once again going through Western Canada next week, where they swept the trip last time there.

These next two weeks may decide if the Blues are going to make a serious push for the playoffs or fall short.
Filed Under:   Blues   St. Louis   Columbus   Blue Jackets  
January 19, 2010 9:35 AM ET | Delete
I don't agree with the assessment that they played a good first two periods. They came out with a lot of energy, scored right off the bat on the Power Play and then relaxed the rest of the way. No energy, zip. They were sloppy the rest of the night, sloppy with passes, sloppy with line changes, everything. A well deserved loss.
January 22, 2010 1:34 PM ET | Delete
There was zero energy by them in this game. I don't know which Blues game you were watching, but they were flatter than flat in Columbus.
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