Backes scores twice, Miller stays hot as Blues beat Jets
ST. LOUIS — With Vladimir Tarasenko and T.J. Oshie both out of the St. Louis Blues lineup, captain David Backes stepped up to fill the void.
Backes scored twice in the third period, giving him 23 goals on the season, and the Blues skated to a 3-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Monday night.
One of Backes’ goals never even reached the net. He was awarded a goal with 1:11 left when he broke in on the Jets empty goal and was pulled down by Jacob Trouba.
”That doesn’t happen a whole lot,” Backes said. ”Sometimes when things aren’t going perfect for you, you take them any way you can get them. Hopefully, it’s the start of a little streak here.”
Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice wasn’t too pleased that it happened Monday.
”I don’t think that game should have gone to 3-1,” Maurice said. ”I don’t think that’s an automatic goal. I don’t think it’s a slash. He goes down, maybe they locked feet. But it’s not unimpeded progress. That game should be still 2-1 in my mind.
”But 2-1 is still a deficit for us.”
Ryan Miller made 16 saves for the Blues, who are 7-0-1 since he was acquired by trade from Buffalo. St. Louis has won three straight and eight of nine.
Western Conference-leading St. Louis has an NHL-best 101 points. It is the sixth time in franchise history that the Blues have reached 100 points.
Brendan Morrow added a goal, and Jay Bouwmeester had two assists in the Blues’ win.
Eric O’Dell had the lone goal for Winnipeg, and Al Montoya made 23 saves.
Montoya thought his team fell into the Blues’ trap.
”This is what that team does,” Montoya said. ”They get up by a goal and they hold the fort.”
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said his team could easily have had a bigger lead.
”We made a game of it because we couldn’t pull away in the second period when we had all the scoring chances,” Hitchcock said. ”We really played well in the second period.”
Tarasenko is expected to miss six weeks because of a hand injury sustained Saturday against Nashville. Oshie, whose first child was born earlier Monday, should be back for Wednesday’s game at Chicago.
Backes broke a 1-1 tie with a power-play goal at 13:09 of the third period when he swatted in a rebound of Ian Cole’s shot.
After a listless first period, St. Louis took a 1-0 lead just 1:44 into the second. After Winnipeg’s Devin Setoguchi failed to control a bouncing puck, Derek Roy took it and broke in on left wing. He centered a pass to Morrow on the right side for a shot into the open net.
The Jets took advantage during 4-on-4 play to tie it at 1:55 of the third. Evander Kane skated down left wing with O’Dell on a 2-on-1 break. Kane centered a pass to O’Dell, who faked a shot and then beat Miller with a backhand.
NOTES: St. Louis is 38-1-5 when scoring first and 30-0-4 when leading after two periods. … Winnipeg is 8-13-5 against the Central Division. … Hitchcock moved into sole possession of third place on the team’s career win list with 119.