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St. Louis at Columbus

Nash scores in fifth straight game, Leclaire perfect for Blue Jackets

CBSSports.com wire reports
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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- It was the type of move a player usually tries late in a long practice.

The right situation presented itself in a game for Columbus' Rick Nash, however, and it will undoubtedly be a staple on all the highlight shows.

Nash scored in his fifth straight game, this one an almost indescribable goal on a shot between his legs, and the Blue Jackets beat the St. Louis Blues 3-0 on Thursday.

Jared Boll had a goal, Jiri Novotny was awarded one, and Pascal Leclaire racked up another shutout on 36 saves as the Blue Jackets extended the best start in the franchise's seven years.

But all anybody was talking about after the game was Nash's spectacular shot.

"You do it a lot during practice but not during the game," Nash said. "I practice it for a while but you never think you'll actually use it in a game."

Ahead 1-0 and on the power play late in the second period, the Blue Jackets worked the puck around the perimeter and had several good scoring chances. Ron Hainsey then tried a slap shot from the blue line that was just wide to the right of the goal. Nash played the ricochet off the boards like Manny Ramirez fielding a ball off the Green Monster, stretching to reach the puck to pull it in and then lifting the shot between his legs and high into the top of the net.

Even the Blues were stunned.

"Nash between the legs top shelf -- it's pretty hard to stop a guy with that size and those hands," defenseman Barret Jackman said.

Nash wasn't even sure how he did it.

"It was just a perfect situation," said Nash, who has six goals in his five-game streak and eight on the season. "I had to find a way to get the puck up into the net as fast as I could. That was the easiest way to do it."

Novotny was skating in on an empty net late in the game when he was hooked from behind by Eric Brewer, and the officials awarded Novotny his fourth goal in five games.

Columbus opened the scoring earlier in the second period when Boll, a rookie, notched his second goal after a giveaway by Jackman. Boll who passed to Novotny, then skated to the right dot and went high over goaltender Hannu Toivonen's right shoulder.

Leclaire, who came into the season with one shutout, has three in his four home starts this season and four on the season. He is one shutout from tying the team's season mark of five.

"It's not that important to me," he said. "The important thing is getting the win. I would have been as happy if we won 5-4."

The Blue Jackets improved to 5-3-1, the best start in franchise history, while winning consecutive games for the first time this season.

"They stuck with their game tonight longer than we did," Blues coach Andy Murray said. "They've got a good team. They were better than us."

Toivonen had several spectacular saves for the Blues, stopping three point-blank shots in the second period and another three in the third. He finished with 25 saves.

"We're off to a good start, but we could be even better," Nash said. "We lost a couple games that we should have won -- that we lost in the last minute of a period. Things are good. We just don't want to look ahead of ourselves."

Notes

  • The Hanson Brothers from the movie Slapshot made a brief appearance during the first intermission.
  • The Blue Jackets came in leading the NHL in penalty kill at 93.2 percent and improved on that by killing two more penalties.
  • Novotny came into the season with eight goals and 22 points in 82 career games, but already has four goals and three assists in nine games.
  • Nash had two goals and two assists in his first four games and has six goals and three assists in the last five.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Matt Walker gets a point-blank chance, but Pascal Leclaire is not to be beaten on this night. (AP)
Matt Walker gets a point-blank chance, but Pascal Leclaire is not to be beaten on this night. (AP)

Scoreboard
St. Louis (5-3-0)0000
Columbus  (5-3-1) «0213
Three Stars
P. Leclaire
CLB


Saves: 36
Save Pct.: 1.000
R. Nash
CLB


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
J. Boll
CLB


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
None
2ND PERIOD
13:30Jared Boll (2), Slap Shot. Assist: Jiri Novotny
17:52Power Play - Rick Nash (8), Wrist Shot. Assist: Ron Hainsey, David Vyborny
3RD PERIOD
17:38Jiri Novotny (4), Wrist Shot. Assist: Rick Nash, Michael Peca
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
None
2ND PERIOD
08:58Russell, 2 min, Tripping
09:35Backman, 2 min, Hooking
16:31McKee, 2 min, Tripping
3RD PERIOD
07:18Brewer, 2 min, Tripping
11:43Fedorov, 2 min, Hooking
SHOTS ON GOAL
 123T
St. Louis14101236
Columbus910928
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Hannu Toivonen59:34252
Pascal Leclaire59:54360
Game Information
Attendance - 12786
Referees - Greg Kimmerly, Dan Marouelli
Linesmen - Mike Cvik, Don Henderson
 
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LA 2
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Edm 5
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