Paul Kariya scored in the first period and set up Boyes’ go-ahead goal with 2:27 to go in the St. Louis Blues’ 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night. Boyes had nine goals in the first 10 games, but had totaled one assist in his previous five.
“He’s got such a terrific release and he had some big-time chances,” Kariya said. “He was due.”
Jamal Mayers added an empty-netter in the final minute for the Blues, shut out in the first two meetings by the Blue Jackets. St. Louis has won two straight after losing three in a row, and killing off a lengthy 5-on-3 advantage in the third period was a key.
“Our defensive specialists did an outstanding job,” St. Louis coach Andy Murray said. “We were saying on the bench, ‘Now it’s up to you offensive players to get it going on the other end.”’
Al MacInnis was honored for his recent Hall of Fame induction in a pre-game ceremony, with the franchise announcing it has commissioned a bronze statue in his likeness that will be placed outside the Scottrade Center alongside one of Bernie Federko.
Curtis Glencross scored his second goal of the season and Rick Nash netted his 13th with 6.3 seconds to go for the Blue Jackets, who won a pair of 3-0 games at home in the first two meetings against the Blues.
“We played well,” Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said. “We made a big mistake at the end of the game in our own zone and it cost us.”
The Blues began the game in a scoreless drought of 144 minutes, 32 seconds against the Blue Jackets, and ended it after 163 minutes and 15 seconds on Kariya’s rebound goal late in the first period. Manny Legace made 29 saves for St. Louis, which started backup Hannu Toivonen the first two games against Columbus.
The Blue Jackets, who got shutouts from Pascal Leclair the first two meetings, got 20 saves from backup Fredrik Norrena.
Kariya, the Blues’ leading scorer with 18 points, scored his fourth goal on a rebound with 1:17 to go in the first period—also his first point in four games. On the go-ahead goal, he slipped a backhand pass from behind the net to a wide-open Boyes, who scored his 10th goal but first in six games.
“Obviously they didn’t pick me up right away so I just wanted to get it off,” Boyes said. “I had a couple of chances earlier that I missed so this was just ‘shoot the puck.”’
Glencross tied it at 5:19 of the third, banging in a rebound before the net was lifted off its moorings by Blues defenseman Erik Johnson, who had been knocked off balance behind the net. The goal was allowed after a lengthy replay because the posts were still in place, although Legace said the situation was a major distraction.
“I don’t understand how you can play when the crossbar’s lying across my neck,” Legace said. “It rattled me for a little while and it could have rattled our whole team.”
The Blues killed off 1:36 of a two-man advantage midway through the third, with Legace stopping three shots and defenseman Bryce Salvador stopping another when a deflection struck him in the jaw and left him on the ice for a few minutes.
Salvador recovered in time to make his next shift, however, and also assisted on the go-ahead goal.
“We have to do better, we have to score, that’s a must goal,” Nash said. “It’s almost impossible not to get a goal, or even a better scoring chance.”
The Blues’ 19-year-old rookie David Perron, the team’s first-round pick this summer, played in his ninth game, one below the threshold for sending him back to juniors without losing a year of control over his rights. In the third period the Blues announced Perron also would be in the lineup on Saturday at Nashville. “David has shown he can play in the National Hockey League and has earned a spot,” team president John Davidson said in a release. … Kariya has 36 points in 34 career games against Columbus.
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