COLUMBUS, Ohio -- When the St. Louis Blues are in high gear, very few clubs in the NHL can hang with them. Certainly not the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Thursday night's meeting between the Central Division rivals was over quickly, with St. Louis scoring three first-period goals en route to a 4-1 win before 11,155 in Nationwide Arena.
Barret Jackman, Patrik Berglund and Vladimir Tarasenko scored in rapid-fire succession in the first for the Blues, who chased Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky only 13 1/2 minutes into the game.
"The three goals in the first period came too easy for us," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Then we started making puck decisions that we haven't made all year. We played a good first period and then a sloppy second period."
The Blue Jackets, who have lost six of their last seven games, tried to fight their way back into the game. There were four fighting majors in the second alone.
Columbus' Jared Boll and St. Louis' Ryan Reaves were given game misconducts late in the second for starting a fight after Columbus' Derek MacKenzie and St. Louis' Scott Nichol were already engaged.
"That's what this whole team is about," said Jackman, who started the fighting with Columbus' Nick Foligno at 5:20 of the second. "We're not a team that relies on three or five or six guys. It's going to be a team effort every night. Some guys put the puck in the net one night, and then we get picked up by other guys the next night."
The Blue Jackets have not shown that type of resiliency.
"There was no real response (to the Blues' early goal)," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. "Once they scored the goal, we were right on our heels."
At 2:19, on the first shot of the game, Jackman's floater from the blue line found the far corner of the net to make it 1-0. Bobrovsky never saw the puck, thanks to a screen by Blues forward Jamie Langenbrunner.
The lead grew to 2-0 at 10:23 of the first when Berglund found space above the left faceoff circle and stepped into a slap shot.
The Blue Jackets pulled the plug on Bobrovsky at 13:22 when St. Louis went ahead 3-0. Tarasenko was sprung by an Alex Steen pass, then pulled up to get around Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski and score while falling backward.
Bobrovsky, who was facing the Blues for the first time, stopped eight of 11 shots before giving way to Steve Mason.
Mason was perfect the rest of the way, stopping only 13 shots. But by then the game was out of reach.
The Blue Jackets scored to make it 3-1 with 3:09 remaining in the second period. Derick Brassard scored on a wrist shot coming through the right circle, his first goal of the season.
The Blues made it 4-1 with 20.1 seconds remaining when David Backes scored into an empty net.
Brian Elliott had 24 saves for the Blues.
NOTES: Blues defenseman Wade Redden sat out the game with the flu. ... The Blue Jackets recalled forward Jonathan Audy-Marchessault and defenseman Tim Erixon from minor-league Springfield after losing winger Matt Calvert and defensemen Adrian Aucoin and Nikita Nikitin in Tuesday's loss in Minnesota. ... Audy-Marchessault, 21, made his NHL debut. ... Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said returning to Columbus to face one of his former clubs has no emotional effect on him. "I looked at the (Blue Jackets') roster today," Hitchcock said. "Cripes, I know like five players. That's just changed a lot. It's another road game for me, to be honest."