Blue Jackets score 4 straight goals, top Blues 4-1
Posted at: 04/12/2013 11:05 PM
By RUSTY MILLER
(AP) COLUMBUS, Ohio - Cam Atkinson had a goal and an assist, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 31 saves as the Columbus Blue Jackets snapped the St. Louis Blues’ season-high, six-game winning streak with a 4-1 victory on Friday night.
Artem Anisimov, Ryan Johansen and Marian Gaborik also had goals for Columbus, which continued its climb from cellar-dweller to playoff contention. The Blue Jackets, 11-1-3 in their last 15 home games, were last in the NHL after a 5-12-2 start but have earned points in 18 of 22 games since (13-4-5).
Kevin Shattenkirk made it 1-0 for the Blues, who went with rookie Jake Allen in goal instead of Brian Elliott, who has posted three shutouts in a row.
The Blue Jackets were almost in a must-win situation. They started the night tied for 10th in the Western Conference with 41 points, three behind eighth-place Detroit. The Blues were firmly entrenched in sixth with 48 points.
Columbus will now embark on a six-game trip to Minnesota, Colorado, Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose and Dallas before closing the regular season at home on April 27 against Nashville.
Bobrovsky, a Vezina Trophy candidate after a hot stretch, was solid in the first 10 minutes of each of the first two periods when he was needed the most. He improved to 11-3-5 with a 1.68 goals-against average at home this season _ after never playing in Nationwide Arena before being acquired from Philadelphia last summer.
With the score tied at 1, the Blue Jackets scored two late goals in the second to take control.
Brandon Dubinsky carried the puck behind the net to the right side of the goal line, pivoted, and fired a blind pass to Anisimov, who jammed in the puck.
Then with under 90 seconds left in the period, James Wisniewski’s slap shot from the left point hit Nick Foligno at the left doorstep. The puck bounced to Johansen, who was alone in front. He had a vacant net for his fourth goal of the year.
The sudden goals were a dramatic change for the Blue Jackets, who hadn’t mustered more than one in five of their last six meetings with the defensive-minded Blues.
Gaborik scored his 12th of the season, and third since last week’s trade from the New York Rangers, when he poked in a lead pass from Mark Letestu on a 2 on 1 break 90 seconds into the third period to make it 4-1.
Despite arriving in Columbus at 2:30 a.m. after their 2-0 win at Minnesota on Thursday night, the Blues came out with some jump. They got on the board 1:26 in on the first of two quirky goals in the opening period.
After winning a faceoff in the offensive zone, Andy McDonald passed back to Shattenkirk at the right point. He slid a shot that hugged the ice, avoiding five players on the way, and slipped past a surprised Bobrovsky just inside the far post.
The Blue Jackets pulled even on another weird goal. Adrian Aucoin _ without a goal this season _ fired a slap shot from the right corner of the blue line. It ricocheted off the blade of Matt Calvert’s stick and then hit the middle of Atkinson’s stick. Allen got a glove on it, but the puck still tumbled in.
Allen protested that Calvert put it in with a high stick, but the goal was confirmed by video review.
NOTES: St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock, who guided Columbus to its only postseason trip in 2009 and led Dallas to the 1999 Stanley Cup title, failed to earn his 600th career victory. He is 599-380-171. ... Columbus closed out a 2-1 homestand. ... The Blues were trying to win their sixth straight road game for the first time since taking seven in a row from April 3-Nov. 5, 2002. ... Wisniewski played in his 400th game, and Johansen took part in his 100th for the Blue Jackets.
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