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St. Louis at Columbus

Blues defeat Jackets for fifth straight

CBSSports.com wire reports
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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- An energized Jaroslav Halak carried his tired teammates to another win.

Halak made 33 saves, and David Perron broke a tie early in the third period to help the NHL-leading St. Louis Blues beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1 on Sunday night for their season-high fifth consecutive victory.

Patrik Berglund also scored for St. Louis. The Blues, coming off a 4-1 victory against Columbus on Saturday night in St. Louis, have won nine of 10 to improve to 45-18-7.

"We had no energy, the goalie found a way," St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said. "That's five games in nine nights with cross-country travel and we hit the wall. We hit the wall mentally. We hit the wall physically. Our goalie stole the game."

Mark Letestu scored for Columbus, which had won four straight games before being swept by the Blues in the weekend series.

Columbus interim coach Todd Richards agreed that Halak just got better as the game went along.

"I thought we created a lot of chances and Halak was very, very good," Richards said.

Halak, second in the NHL in goals-against average behind teammate Brian Elliott who played Saturday, made several key saves with the Blues holding a late one-goal lead.

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Halak stretched his right leg pad on near identical plays moments apart late to thwart R.J. Umberger and Dane Byers in alone after a pair of rare defensive miscues by the Blues. Halak then made a diving play on a loose puck about to cross the goal line with players piled in the crease that was ruled no goal and upheld by video review.

"Two 2-on-1's in the third, probably one breakaway, he just won the game for us," Perron said.

On another power play in the waning seconds and Columbus goalie Curtis Sanford pulled for an extra attacker, Letestu redirected a point shot that skipped just wide.

Perron gave St. Louis the lead at 3:46 of the third with his 14th goal of the season, skating nearly the length of the ice before beating Sanford -- making his second straight start while Steve Mason recovers from a hand laceration -- inside the near post with a bad-angle shot.

"It's probably one I don't expect to go in," Perron said. "I had a lot of power behind it. I went high glove couple times over the weekend and he saved all of those."

Columbus finished 0 for 8 with the man advantage, which included two double minors.

"I think they do a good job of making you play quicker than you want to," Letestu said about struggling on the power play. "It was a challenge for us."

After a scoreless first period and another stellar leg pad stop by Halak, and one by Sanford, Berglund put the Blues on the board first, just over a minute into the second period.

Alex Pietrangelo wristed a shot while skating backward inside the blue line that Berglund stopped in traffic then snapped past Sanford.

The Blues couldn't increase their lead on a four-minute penalty to Vinny Prospal for high-sticking and unsportsmanlike conduct, then Columbus pulled even later in the period.

On a nice rush up the ice, Ryan Johansen dropped the puck to Letestu, who curled to the right dot and ripped a shot past Halak for his eighth at 11:20.

"We made a lot of tired, mental decisions today and we got away with hit," Hitchcock said. "If it was a playoff team we were playing, we might not have gotten away with it."

Notes

  • St. Louis, playing the first of a season-high, seven-game trip improved to 16-14-3 while having won six of seven on the road. They are 29-4-4 at home.
  • The Blues' streak of four games with a power-play goal ended. They finished 0 for 4. But they haven't allowed a power-play goal in 14 games, killing 47 consecutive chances against.
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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Roman Polak chases a loose puck in the Blues' victory over the Blue Jackets, their fifth straight win.  (Getty Images)
Roman Polak chases a loose puck in the Blues' victory over the Blue Jackets, their fifth straight win. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
St. Louis  (45-18-7) «0112
Columbus (22-40-7)0101
Three Stars
J. Halak
STL


Saves: 33
Save Pct.: .971
D. Perron
STL


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
M. Letestu
CLB


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
None
2ND PERIOD
01:09 - Patrik Berglund (15), Wrist Shot. Assist: Pietrangelo, McDonald
11:20 - Mark Letestu (8), Slap Shot. Assist: Johansen, Lebda
3RD PERIOD
03:46 - David Perron (14), Wrist Shot. Assist: Jackman
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
01:13Stewart, 2 min, High-Sticking
05:46Boll, 2 min, Interference
13:51Crombeen, 2 min, Hooking
2ND PERIOD
04:44Prospal, 2 min, High-Sticking
04:44Prospal, 2 min, Unsportsmanlike Conduct
08:54Crombeen, 2 min, Tripping
14:03Boll, 5 min, Fighting
14:03Stewart, 5 min, Fighting
14:03Stewart, 2 min, Roughing
17:16Gillies, 2 min, Holding
18:21Boyce, 2 min, Roughing
18:21Shattenkirk, 2 min, Roughing
18:21Shattenkirk, 2 min, Roughing
18:21Shattenkirk, 2 min, Elbowing
3RD PERIOD
16:14Crombeen, 2 min, High-Sticking
18:17Pietrangelo, 2 min, High-Sticking
Shots On Goal
 123T
STL108826
CLB7151234
 
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