COLUMBUS – Kris Russell acknowledged his nerves surrounding his return to Columbus Sunday night in a new jersey. Russell, the newest member of the St. Louis Blues, has enjoyed success since being traded earlier this month. However, a head-to-head battle with his former teammates put Russell on edge. Late in the second period in the Blues 2-1 victory, Russell netted the game tying goal against his former team, proving his nervousness was unfounded.
David Backes scored the game winning goal for St. Louis in the third period on the powerplay, courtesy of a magnificent no-look pass by T.J. Oshie. The goal is Backes’s fifth in six games and he now leads the Blues in goals (9).
The Blue Jackets scored their only goal 5:06 into the second period when Derek Dorsett scored on a breakaway. The Jackets fired 24 shots at Blues goaltender Brian Elliott, who stopped 23 shots, to insure a Blues victory. Elliott is now 10-1 on the season, and the Blues are7-1-2 under new Coach Ken Hitchcock.
The Blues played this game without feisty forward Vladimir Sobotka. Sobotka sustained an injury Friday night against Calgary when a puck collided with his face. Though Sobotka did not lose any teeth, he fractured a bone in the gum region of his mouth. However, Sobotka will rejoin the Blues Tuesday night when the team takes on Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. The game airs at 6 p.m. CST on Fox Sports Midwest.
Odds and Ends
- Evgeny Grachev was scratched Sunday night in lieu of Peoria call-up Brett Sterling. Sterling played 6:36 and was used on a powerplay unit with Patrik Berglund and Chris Stewart.
- Kris Russell wasn’t the only former member of the Columbus Blue Jackets anticipating Sunday’s game; Ken Hitchcock is a former coach for CBJ. This was Hitchcock’s first return to Columbus since leaving the organization.
- Brett Hull has expressed interest in joining a group of investors who will purchase the Blues.
- Former Blue Curtis Sanford started in net for CBJ. Prior to Sunday’s loss to the Blues, Sanford was 3-0-2, breathing new life into a slumping Columbus squad.
- B.J. Crombeen has resumed skating for the Blues, though there is no timetable for his return. Right now, Crombeen is focusing on conditioning and readjusting to skating.
- Despite Elliott’s excellent play, look for Jaroslav Halak to start Tuesday. Hitchcock seems to be subscribing to a two games on, two games off rotation for his goalies thus far.