Berglund shows he’s more than OK as Blues sweep season series with Nashville

Teammates congratulate Patrik Berglund, who boosted the Blues to victory over Nashville with his third two-game goal of the season.

The St. Louis Blues made the most of their trip to Nashville on Saturday, continuing their strong play with a 4-1 win over the Predators behind two goals from Patrik Berglund.

The Blues improved to 46-14-7 and now have 99 points in 67 games.

St. Louis is now 36-1-5 when scoring first, 26-0-3 when leading after the first period and 29-0-4 when leading after the second period.  

Goalie Ryan Miller stopped 30 of 31 shots, the most he’s faced in his short time with the Blues. He is now 6-0-1 in his seven starts with St. Louis and improved to 21-22-4 on the season.

BERGIE STAYS HOT

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Berglund is fine, apparently, after getting his leg tangled with a defender and twisting his knee midway through the third period of the win against the Oilers on Thursday night.

The Swedish forward did not return in the final 10 minutes Thursday but was back on the ice during an optional skate on Friday and then again for the morning skate on Saturday.

Berglund showed he was more than OK, scoring the first two goals of the night and getting the Blues some early momentum on the road.

They were his 13th and 14th goals of the season and his fifth and sixth since the Olympic break. Berglund, who was centering a line with Steve Ott and Brenden Morrow and only played 10:17 on the night, now has seven points in his past eight games after scoring 24 (eight goals, 16 assists) in his first 56 contests.

That’s quite a turnaround for Berglund, whose sixth NHL season has been a struggle offensively at times after finishing second on the team in goals a year ago. Berglund’s 14 goals rank seventh on the team — one behind the departed Chris Stewart — this season and his 31 points rank 10th.

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If Berglund can continue this strong play down the stretch, he will give St. Louis a viable scoring option on the second or third lines and make this deep and talented Blues team even more dangerous.

TARASENKO’S TEAR

Tarasenko’s second-period goal, which gave the Blues a 3-0 advantage, was his second in two games and his 21st of the season.

The Russian youngster has been red hot lately. He now has nine points in the past eight games — a stretch in which the Blues are 7-0-1.

For the season, Tarasenko has 43 points (21 goals, 22 assists) and is plus-20 in 64 games.


BACKES MOVES OVER

Following Thursday night’s win, Ken Hitchcock hinted at some "interesting" line moves that he was considering and could be unveiling soon.

The coach revealed his thinking Saturday, telling reporters following the morning skate that he planned to move captain David Backes to ring wing in some situations, with Alexander Steen moving to center, on the team’s No. 1 line.

The coach’s idea was, in part, for Backes to take the faceoffs on the right side of the ice and to remain at center and then for Steen to take the draws on the left side and stay as the center. Another benefit is that Backes, who began his NHL career as a right winger, gets to be the first player in on the forecheck, which is one of the strengths of his game.

The Steen-Backes-Jaden Schwartz line accounted for one goal Saturday, when Steen — who was lined up on the right side — netted his career-best 30th of the season following a turnover to give the Blues a 4-1 lead.

But the line was productive in other ways. Steen won a season-high 12 of his 17 faceoffs (71 percent) and Backes recorded a team-high seven hits.

You can follow Nate Latsch on Twitter (@natelatsch) or email him at natelatsch@gmail.com