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Blues seek consistency in matchup vs. Blue Jackets

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The St. Louis Blues hope to find some consistency when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night.The Blues have alternated wins and losses in their past eight games.On Wednesday, St.

The St. Louis Blues hope to find some consistency when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night.

The Blues have alternated wins and losses in their past eight games.

On Wednesday, St. Louis had a chance to climb four games above .500 for the first time since the end of the 2021-22 season, but the Blues blew a 3-1 lead against the visiting Vegas Golden Knights and lost 6-3.

“We’re going in spurts,” Blues captain Brayden Schenn said. “We have big wins, and then we just can’t seem to follow it up.”

St. Louis posted back-to-back wins against the Anaheim Ducks and Arizona Coyotes to cap a four-game road trip, only to come home and get blown out by the Nashville Predators 8-3 on Nov. 24.

The Blues beat the Chicago Blackhawks on the road, but then lost to the Minnesota Wild, who had lost seven straight and fired their coach the day before.

A win at home against the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 30 was soured by a loss on the road to the Coyotes. St. Louis then beat the Golden Knights in overtime on Monday before blowing the two-goal lead against them two days later.

“There’s no sense in looking back at the past eight games,” Schenn said. “We got a split with the Knights. We should have had four points, but now you look forward to the weekend against two teams that are below us in the standings. But, as we know, you don’t take anyone lightly in this league and we need to find a way to grab four points this weekend.”

The Blue Jackets are coming off a 7-3 loss against the New York Islanders on Thursday night. They lost their grip after surrendering three goals in the final 5:30 of the second period to fall behind 4-2.

That defeat came two days after Columbus blew a three-goal lead to start the third period against the visiting Los Angeles Kings in a 4-3 overtime loss.

On the bright side, Adam Fantilli had two goals and an assist against the Islanders. It was the first multi-goal game and first three-point game in the NHL for the third overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.

Fantilli said he felt comfortable on a line with Kent Johnson and Emil Bemstrom, who was recalled from Cleveland of the American Hockey League on Wednesday and scored against the Islanders.

“We’re young guys, we’re trying to prove ourselves still, and we know how hard we have to work,” Fantilli said. “We’re trying to do that; we’re trying to help our team as much as possible.”

Columbus played its most recent game without forward Patrik Laine, defenseman Erik Gudbranson and goalie Elvis Merzlikins because of illnesses, defenseman Adam Boqvist sat out with a shoulder strain, and center Cole Sillinger missed his fourth straight game with an upper-body injury.

Spencer Martin started in goal against the Islanders and stopped 29 of 36 shots in the first game of the back-to-back set.

Merzlikins was placed on injured reserve on Wednesday, putting 22-year-old Jet Greaves in line to make his second NHL start on Friday. Greaves was recalled from Cleveland when Merzlikins went on IR.

Greaves made his presence known in his only NHL start on April 4 of last season, setting franchise records in a goaltending debut for saves (46) and shots faced (49) in a 4-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

In addition to Greaves and Bemstrom, the Blue Jackets also recalled defenseman Nick Blankenburg on Wednesday and he made his season debut against New York.