Blues end home slump with 2-1 win over Columbus
Saturday, February 23, 2013
ST. LOUIS (AP) — With one period to go in a tie game, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock asked his top line for more. St. Louis got just enough to end a five-game home losing streak.
David Perron scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period and Jaroslav Halak made some big saves late in a 2-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night.
"I think just getting the feeling of winning again is going to do wonders for us at home now," Hitchcock said. "I think this helps us so much because we play at such a higher level on the road and with such a higher level of intensity, where we're waiting for things to happen at home and then they don't happen and we get discouraged."
Chris Stewart had a first-period goal for the Blues, outscored 23-9 during an 0-4-1 home slump. Perron beat Sergei Bobrovsky from the slot for his sixth goal at 9:51, also the Blues' first shot of the period.
"Personally, I wasn't happy with my performance the first two periods," Perron said. "In the third I thought I was a lot better. I'm at a point in my career when I know if I don't play well."
Halak made 19 saves, giving up his first goal at home in 168 minutes, 32 seconds on Matt Calvert's short-handed tally late in the second before shutting down the Blue Jackets late. The streak dated to March 31, 2012.
Bobrovsky made 21 saves for Columbus, last in the NHL with 12 points. The Blue Jackets are 1-4 on a six-game road trip that ends Sunday in Chicago. New team president John Davidson, the Blues' president the previous seven seasons, watched from the press box.
Halak is 16-1-1 in his last 18 home starts during the regular season, with the lone loss coming against Columbus 5-2 on March 31, 2012. The Blues are 13-2-1 in their last 16 at home against the Blue Jackets.
The standing-room attendance of 19,457 was St. Louis' second sellout of the season.
The Blues' Barret Jackman broke a franchise durability record for a defenseman, playing in his 616th game. St. Louis' first-round pick in 1999 vaulted from fourth to first in rapid fashion, overtaking Bob Plager (615), brother Barclay Plager (614) and Al MacInnis (613). Teammates stood on the bench beside him when the record was announced during a break in the first period.
Jackman watched the final 1:43 from the penalty box after a boarding call against Cam Atkinson. Halak had to make two glove saves in the final minute after the Blue Jackets pulled Bobrovsky.
"I was just trying to separate him from the puck and he was going down," Jackman said. "I didn't finish the check fully, and the ref sees one thing and I think I did another.
"It's one of those things, (but) the boys pulled together."
Atkinson said the Blue Jackets "were definitely peppering" Halak.
"We had some good chances, but you've got to bury (one)," he added.
David Backes set up the go-ahead goal when he carried the puck over the blue line and then skirted a check against the boards before passing to Perron.
"He made a great play to get it to me," Perron said. "I kind of fanned on it a little bit but it seems like when you're in good spots, shots like that find a way in."
The Blue Jackets were carrying play early with a 10-5 advantage in shots before Stewart scored his seventh on a high drive from just above the right circle at 13:55.
Columbus was outshot 13-3 in the second but tied it late with its second short-handed goal of the season. Calvert capitalized on a giveaway by Matt D'Agostini for his third of the season despite losing control of the puck in tight against Halak. An assist went to James Wisniewski, who hit the crossbar a few minutes earlier and slammed his stick on the boards in frustration.
Bobrovsky had a strong game in net for Columbus, unlike Jan. 31 at home when he was pulled after giving up three goals on 11 shots in a 4-1 loss.
NOTES: Columbus D Jack Johnson was sidelined with an upper-body injury late in the first period, and coach Todd Richards said he was day to day. ... The home slump was the Blues' worst since an 0-6-1 tailspin Nov. 25 to Dec. 17, 2006. ... Columbus F Derek Dorsett was driven into the boards helmet-first by a check from Roman Polak in the second period but didn't miss a shift. Dorsett had stopped and turned his body to control the puck with his skate before the hit. ... Columbus C Artem Anisimov, taken off the ice on a stretcher Thursday night after getting struck in the head at Detroit, was among the scratches. Anisimov returned to Columbus earlier Saturday to be examined by team doctors, and Richards said he hadn't received results.
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