Reaves scores twice, backs Elliott in Blues’ win
Thursday, April 25, 2013
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Ryan Reaves still prefers pounding opponents to scoring goals.
The St. Louis enforcer recorded his first two-goal game in the NHL, and Brian Elliott earned his league-leading 10th win in April to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 4-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Thursday night.
St. Louis, which has won five of six, moved into fourth place in the Western Conference. The Blues have 58 points, one ahead of Los Angeles and San Jose. They can clinch the No. 4 seed and home ice in the opening round of the playoffs with a victory over Chicago on Saturday.
Los Angeles and San Jose will meet Saturday in the final regular-season game for both teams.
The Blues have won a season-high five straight home games.
Calgary, which will miss the playoffs for the fourth straight year, has won five of eight but will end the season today at Chicago.
Reaves scored the first and last goals for the Blues on Thursday. He has nine goals in 130 NHL games, including a career-best four this season.
All he wanted to talk about after the game was his one-sided third-period beating of Tim Jackman, who initiated the fight.
“I always enjoy the fisticuffs (more),” Reaves said. “Especially when a guy jumps me and he ends up like that.”
Reaves, who has a team-high eight fights this season, has three goals in four games. He scored in the first period from close range off a pass from Adam Cracknell. His third-period goal was also a case of being in the right place at the right time.
“I don’t know what he had for pregame, but I wish I had some of that,” Cracknell said. “He was something.”
Elliott said it was nice to see Reaves’ goal-scoring celebration rather that his usual hands-in-air acknowledgment as he heads to the penalty box following a crowd-pleasing fight.
St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said Reaves’ breakout offensive game was the result of hard work along with linemates Cracknell and Chris Porter.
“They’ve been doing a lot of work in the corners, and it’s paying off,” he said. “But I hope he doesn’t think he’s a goal-scorer now.”
Elliott made 18 saves in improving to 10-2 in April. He has a 1.14 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage. Elliott has three shutouts in the month and has allowed only 15 goals on 282 shots.
Andy McDonald and Alexander Steen also had goals for St. Louis, which scored three times in the second period to take a 3-1 lead. It was the Blues’ first three-goal period since the second period of a 6-3 win at Phoenix on March 7.
Chris Stewart and Cracknell added two assists each for the Blues, who scored more than three goals for the first time in 11 games.
McDonald put St. Louis ahead 2-1 with his seventh goal of the season midway through the second period.
Steen scored just over five minutes later off a backhand. The power-play tally came 5 seconds after Paul Byron went off for high sticking.
Calgary tied it 1-1 on a goal by Sven Baertschi at 7:58 of the second period. Baertschi took a cross-ice pass from Jiri Hudler and beat Elliott, who came out of the net and surrendered the puck with an ill-advised pass off the boards.
“The communication wasn’t there,” Elliott said. “But I knew the way we were playing that we were going to come out on top.”
Baertschi has a seven-game point streak.
“I thought we came back and showed some fight,” Baertschi said. “Just not enough.”
Calgary is 1-2 on its season-ending, four-game trip.
“They were just much better than us,” Calgary coach Bob Hartley said. “They can shoot the puck. You give them a little room and they will make you pay.”
Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester pushed his league-leading, consecutive-games played streak to 634 and earned an assist against his former team. The Blues are 10-3 since acquiring him from Calgary on April 1.
St. Louis has won 11-of-14 and will carry plenty of momentum into Saturday’s showdown with Chicago.
“We took care of business, and now we’ve got one more chance to do it again,” Elliott said. “You never know what can happen in the playoffs, but the higher you can get the better.”
Notes: St. Louis D Kevin Shattenkirk played in his 200th NHL game. ... Calgary D Chris Butler, who hails from the St. Louis suburb of Kirkwood, was named to the United States Men’s National Team that will play May 3-19 in the IIHF tournament in Helsinki, Finland. ... St. Louis D Barret Jackman sat out because of an ankle injury sustained in the second period of Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Colorado. ... St. Louis G Jaroslav Halak served as the backup to Elliott after missing 12 games with a groin injury.
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