What's buzzing:

Blues battle back for overtime win

The SportsXchange

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The St. Louis Blues had to work overtime last night to find redemption after a sloppy, uneven performance by one of the NHL's top teams.

Right winger David Backes scored 22 seconds into overtime, leading the Blues to a 4-3 overtime win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night before 13,801 in Nationwide Arena.

Right winger Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice, right winger Cam Stewart had a goal and veteran left winger Brenden Morrow added two assists for the Blues, who also got 30 saves from goaltender Jaroslav Halak after a shaky start.

Backes' goal allowed the Blues to come all the way back from a 3-1 deficit after the first period.

"It's a little redemption for the rest of our game," Backes said. "It wasn't optimal by any means. That's not the first period we want to play, but we'll take the two points. Not optimal by any means.

"We made it hard on ourselves. But credit to the guys for putting in the effort in and digging deep."

Defenseman Fedor Tyutin, center Artem Anisimov and center Ryan Johansen scored for the Blue Jackets, and journeyman goaltender Mike McKenna finished with 27 saves.

With the Blue Jackets leading 3-2, fourth-line center Mark Letestu had a chance to push the lead to 4-2 but shot high on a breakaway with 6:46 remaining.

Only 19 seconds later, Stewart poked home a rebound off an Ian Cole shot to tie the score at 3.

One shift into overtime, it was over. Backes outbattled Tyutin for the puck in the neutral zone and then McKenna over his outstretched left pad to end it.

"We had opportunities, and that might be the most disappointing thing," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. "I thought we played hard for 60-plus minutes, but it wasn't good enough.

"We had an opportunity to close it out. We had chances in the third, chances on our power play. That's really the only reason it's disappointing because we had opportunities to put the game away."

Halak allowed the Blue Jackets to score on three straight shots in the first period. He stopped the final 26 shots he faced, however.

The Blue Jackets and Blues -- former Central Division rivals -- didn't take long to rediscover the violence and skulduggery that used to highlight all of their games.

Blue Jackets left winger Matt Calvert and Cole had in a spirited fight at 13:20 of the first period, and Jackets defenseman Dalton Prout and Stewart engaged in a lengthy bout between heavyweights at center ice.

Amid the mayhem, there was plenty of offense.

The Blues took a 1-0 lead at 4:10 of the first period when Tarasenko fired home a rebound off a shot by defenseman Jay Bouwmeester.

But the Blue Jackets roared back, scoring on their fifth, sixth and seventh shots of the game.

At 8:49, Anisimov took a center feed from left winger Blake Comeau and roofed the puck over Halak's right pad to make it 1-1.

Tyutin gave the Blue Jackets a 2-1 lead at 11:39 when he pounced on a turnover at the blue line -- the Jackets' forecheck was disrupting the Blues -- and wired it through traffic and past Halak.

Less than two minutes later, and only seven seconds into a five-on-three advantage for Columbus, Johansen dropped to his knee low in the left circle to one-time a cross-zone feed from center Brandon Dubinsky. It was 3-1.

In a second period pockmarked by penalties -- the Blues had four minor penalties, the Blue Jackets three -- the Blues pulled to 3-2 on a power play goal at 8:33 when Tarasenko scored from just inside the blue line.

"To me, guys like Chris Stewart showed real toughness, real resolve in continuing to push and fight and play," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Our game was really uneven. Every aspect of the game had real good and real bad in it, so we're lucky to get the two points here."

NOTES: Blue Jackets G Mike McKenna, a St. Louis native, last played in the NHL for the New Jersey Devils in the 2010-11 season. The 30-year-old has 334 professional games under his belt but only 18 at the NHL level. ... The Blues made a healthy scratch of LW Magnus Paajarvi, whom they acquired from Edmonton for David Perron last summer. ... The Blue Jackets sent RW Jack Skille back to Springfield in the AHL. ... Blue Jackets RW Marian Gaborik (knee sprain) has resumed skating with the club and could return on Monday for a game against the Winnipeg Jets. He has been out since Nov. 17.
Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
View Comments (0)