Blues top Jackets in SO for fourth straight
David Perron paid close attention to St. Louis teammate Brad Boyes' shootout attempt on Columbus' Steve Mason.
Perron saw that Boyes shot high and decide to repeat it. Perron scored in the first extra round of the shootout to give the Blues a 4-3 victory over the Blue Jackets on Saturday night.
Perron beat Mason after the teams each scored once in the first three rounds of the tiebreaker. Chris Mason then stopped Antoine Vermette's attempt to end the game.
"I saw Brad Boyes beat him pretty easily," Perron said. "I tried to do the same. It worked, but he got a piece of it."
The Blues, in the tight Western Conference playoff race, won their fourth straight for the first time this season and are tied for tied for eighth with Edmonton.
Keith Tkachuk, Patrik Berglund and Alex Steen scored for the Blues in regulation.
Despite seeing a two-goal, third period lead evaporate, Chris Mason said the Blues didn't panic.
"I guess you could say that they came back, but we knew it was going to be a tough third period," Mason said. "I guess you could say it's a relief, but it's the same story with our team. We just keep plugging and find ways to win."
Columbus, sixth in the West as it tries to qualify for its first playoff appearance, had won seven of nine (7-1-1). Vermette, Kristian Huselius and Rick Nash scored for the Blue Jackets, who overcame a 3-1 third-period deficit. Nash scored in the shootout.
"We didn't play very good for two periods to start off the game," Nash said. "To come out with a point in a game like that shows a lot of character from our guys."
The Blues, 5-1-1 in their last seven games, have won six in a row at home against Columbus. St. Louis took a 2-1 lead in the first period.
Tkachuk scored his 22nd goal 6:17 into the game when he redirected in Brad Winchester's pass.
Vermette tied it for Columbus with a short-handed goal, his 15th tally of the season. Vermette beat Chris Mason with a backhander on a breakaway at 12:22 after bursting through a pair of Blues players following a pass from R.J. Umberger.
Berglund sneaked a backhander through Steve Mason's legs at 13:47 to restore the Blues' lead.
Steen made it 3-1 when he roofed a rebound of his shot 5:48 into the second period. Jay McClement kept the puck in the Columbus zone after Kris Russell failed to clear, getting the puck to B.J. Crombeen. Crombeen's initial shot hit Steen in the back, and the puck dropped at Steen's skates in the slot. He first backhanded a shot between his legs before beating Steve Mason.
The Blues carried that lead into the third period but saw it disappear.
"If we lost the game in a shootout, I would have had the same message for (the players) as I had after this game with a win," Blues coach Andy Murray said. "The message was, 'If we had lost in the shootout, we're not competing against Nashville, we're not competing against Anaheim, we're not competing against Minnesota - these other teams in the standings.' We're battling for our own points. If we got one point tonight, that's one point."
Blues rookie T.J. Oshie made his presence felt in the third period, flattening Rick Nash with a check after serving a penalty.
"It definitely kind of lit my fire, so I'm kind of happy he did it," Nash said.
The Blue Jackets rallied in the third period to tie it 3-3 on goals by Huselius and Nash 1:33 apart.
Huselius made it 3-2 by netting his 21st of the season 7:23 into the third, poking his own rebound past Chris Mason after Jason Williams kept the puck in the Blues zone.
Nash netted his 35th at 8:56, snapping in a shot from between the circles. He definitely used the hit as a motivator the rest of the game.
"The big change for us in the third period was our top players really showed up and played," Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Both guys scored big goals for us and that's what you need and that's what we got."
Boyes gave the Blues the shootout lead before Nash tied it with a snap shot. Both goals came in the second round.
After Steve Mason stopped Andy McDonald with the Blues' third attempt, Jason Williams had the chance to give Columbus the lead, but Chris Mason made a left pad save to force the extra round.
"You don't want to go into a shootout," McDonald said. "There's too many variables. Mason's been terrific for us and it was a big win."
The teams will meet again Sunday in Columbus and have one more meeting in St. Louis on April 10.
"I like the way we played," McDonald said. "We did a lot of good things. We probably let down a little bit in the third, but if we certainly put a game like that together (Sunday), we should be all right."
Berglund became the 10th Blues rookie to score 20 goals and the first since Jim Campbell netted 23 during the 1996-97 season. Berglund has three goals in three games after scoring one in 22. ... Vermette has six goals in 10 games for Columbus since being acquired from Ottawa at the trade deadline. ... Steen's goal was his first in 17 games and second in 33. ... Nash has 15 points in 13 games.