COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The St. Louis Blues insisted their lopsided win Sunday over Columbus was nothing personal.
Patrik Berglund scored twice and Jaroslav Halak had 23 saves as the Blues dominated for much of the game and won 6-1 on Sunday. St. Louis sent the Blue Jackets off their home ice to a chorus of boos from the few fans left behind from an announced reported crowd of 13,538.
The Blues said the rout wasn't a payback for an 8-1 setback back in November in the same venue.
"It's probably just two teams that like to play hard and guys who are willing to push that envelope," Blues coach Davis Payne said, explaining the chippy nature of the game and the series.
Before the game in November, the teams got into a shouting match in a corridor outside the dressing rooms. The bad blood carried over to the ice. There were fights, cheap shots and St. Louis' T.J. Oshie broke an ankle and missed 31 games.
The Blues came into that game with a record of 8-1-2, but the defeat started a five-game skid that sent the Blues spiraling down the standings. Both the Blues and Blue Jackets had long been eliminated from the Western Conference playoff picture.
"We are division rivals. So obviously when you play against division rivals, you want to beat them, you want to win every game," Halak said. "That's what we were trying to do."
Chris Porter, Andy McDonald, Alexander Steen and Carlo Colaiacovo also had goals, with Chris Stewart, Matt D'Agostini and Vladimir Subotka each adding two assists for the Blues, who have earned points in five of six games.
Payne said early leads in the meetings this season have led the teams to get even more physical than usual.
"If you look at all the games, one team has jumped ahead so it has never really been that tied, tight hockey game, a one-goal hockey game," he said. "You start to get too much distance on the scoreboard, and one team or the other team usually has some sort of a response to get their team going. That may be one reason."
Columbus coach Scott Arniel offered another reason.
"Against a team like St. Louis, if you play like that, soft and aren't ready to compete, stuff like that happens," he said. "We just weren't very good. Our compete level wasn't very good. We weren't ready to match what St. Louis was doing."
To be fair, the Blue Jackets were without captain and leading scorer Rick Nash and top goalie Steve Mason.