Backes charged back into the scoring column with two third-period
goals on Monday, and goalie Ryan Miller made 16 saves to lead the
Blues to a 3-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets.
St. Louis has won three in a row and eight of its last nine.
Winnipeg has lost two of three.
The winner and loser of the game was evident when the third period
ended, but the final score was not.
After the game, the Blues briefly were credited with another
empty-net goal when the league office in Toronto ruled left winger
Chris Porter scored with less than one second remaining. However,
the NHL changed the final score back to the original 3-1 after
ruling the play was blown dead.
The close of the contest featured several fights with one second
remaining. Officials handed out 15 penalties, including eight
"It was the exclamation point on the game," Backes said. "Things
like that happen. They're a desperate team, but I think our guys
The Blues (47-14-7) top the NHL with 101 points and passed the
100-point plateau for the sixth time in franchise history and first
St. Louis leads San Jose (97 points) and Anaheim (97) in the battle
for the President's Trophy with 14 games remaining.
Backes, who is second on the team with 23 goals, managed just one
goal in his previous 12 games.
But that lack of offensive production did not bother him. Or his
"A lot of guys, their games are about stats," said left winger
Brenden Morrow, who scored the Blues' first goal. "But he's a guy
that controls so much of the game. He's our energy out there.
"We weren't worried about him in the goal-scoring department. He was
playing strong for us."
Backes pounced on a loose puck at 13:09 of the third period to give
his team a 2-1 lead. He was also awarded a goal with 1:11 left when
he was dragged down from behind with the Winnipeg net empty. That
made it 3-1.
"I was squeezing it a little bit, so I hope that's the start of a
little streak here," Backes said of his third two-goal game of the
Miller improved to 7-0-1 since being acquired from Buffalo on Feb.
28. He has stopped 179 of 195 shots in eight contests in St. Louis.
The Blues, who improved to 20-0-2 against Central Division foes, are
8-0-1 in March.
"We were strong on the puck in the offensive zone, not throwing it
away," St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said. "You like to see rewards
for all the hard work."
Center Eric O'Dell scored for Winnipeg, which was coming off an
impressive 7-2 win over Dallas on Sunday.
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O'Dell tied the game 1-1 at 1:55 of the third period off a nifty
feed from left wing Evander Kane.
Morrow broke a 10-game scoreless drought by converting a pass from
center Derek Roy early in the second period. Roy picked up a loose
puck and found Morrow in the slot.
"We pulled away in the third period and we're starting to get
confidence in the structure of our game." Morrow said. "If we stay
patient, a lot of times the other team will crack before we do."
Morrow says winning the President's Trophy is the main focus over
the final month of the season. St. Louis is 25-5-4 at home.
"We're comfortable playing in front of our fans and in this
building," he said.
Winnipeg (31-30-9) goalie Al Montoya made 22 saves but fell to
"It's frustrating," Montoya said. "We had a chance to win it and
that's all we can ask."
Jets coach Paul Maurice lamented his team's mistakes, including a
slashing penalty by Kane that gave St. Louis the power-play that led
to the game-winning tally.
"We just can't be in the box there," he said. "That's the bottom
The Blues have scored first in an NHL-leading 44 games. They are
38-1-5 when getting the first goal.
NOTES: St. Louis RW T.J. Oshie became a father on Monday morning.
His fiancee, Lauren Cosgrove, gave birth to a girl, Lyla Grace, at
9:47 a.m. Oshie did not dress for the contest. ...Winnipeg G Ondrej
Pavelec missed his second consecutive game with a lower-body injury
suffered against the New York Rangers on Friday. He is listed as
day-to-day. .....Jets D Tobias Enstrom remained one assist shy of
200 for his career. ....Blues RW Vladimir Tarasenko will miss the
rest of the regular season with an injury to his right hand suffered
in Saturday's 4-1 win at Nashville. ....Winnipeg has outscored its
opponents 59-58 in the first period, the only period in which the
Jets hold an advantage.
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