Blues power their way to 7-3 win over Avs

Rob Rains, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

ST. LOUIS -- At least when it comes to the power play, St. Louis Blues center David Backes believes ugly is better than pretty.
The Blues had managed only one power play goal in 14 chances in their previous five games coming into Thursday night's game against the Colorado Avalanche, who came in having killed off all 20 power plays by opponents in their first seven road games.
That streak ended less than two minutes into the game with the first of three St. Louis power-play goals that sent the Blues to a 7-3 victory, handing the Avalanche their first back-to-back losses and allowing the Blues to set a franchise record with their 12th win in the first 17 games of the season.
"We simplified and starting shooting the puck," Backes said. "Hopefully, we learned our lesson that getting cute and scoring one out of 20 that are pretty isn't worth it when we can score a couple a game if we just do things the hard way and shoot the puck and find rebounds and put them in the back of the net."
Center Derek Roy, Backes and right winger Chris Stewart scored the power-play goals for the Blues, who also got two even-strength goals from left winger Alexander Steen -- increasing his season total to a league-leading 16 goals -- as they matched their biggest offensive output of the season.
The three power play goals were a season high for the Blues, who had not scored more than one in any of their previous seven games.
Steen extended his streak to at least one point in his last 12 games, the longest of his career. He has 11 goals and four assists during that span.
Right winger T.J. Oshie celebrated the first four-point game of his career, getting assists on the first two St. Louis power play goals and adding two assists later in the game.
"I think a lot of it has to do with how much we were shooting the puck," Oshie said of the power play success. "Guys were getting to the right spots and we were shooting the puck and getting some bounces.
"The last couple of games I don't know if we haven't been getting those bounces because we haven't been shooting enough or what. Tonight, we were shooting and they found the net."
The Blues put the game away with a four-goal explosion in a span of 11:50 in the second period, turning a 1-1 game into a 5-1 advantage.
"It feels good to beat a good team," Oshie said. "I don't think the score reflects how good they are. I'm not sure if we caught them on an off night or we just played that well. It's just good to get the two points."
Colorado coach Patrick Roy was impressed with the Blues but also thought it was one of those nights when the puck was bouncing St. Louis' way.
"They are a very physical team and they played a good game," Roy said. "They were strong on the puck and I thought the puck bounced well for them on the power play. The first two power plays tipped off us and finished in the back of the net. I think it's a good learning process for us."
Colorado goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere suffered his first loss in six games this season. He was pulled in the middle of the second period after the Blues took a 3-1 lead but returned for the final period.
"We expected them to be physical, and we can play against any physical team in this league," Giguere said. "We have guys who can respond in that scenario. They are a good team, but we know we can compete against them."
Right winger Vladimir Tarasenko and defenseman Jay Bouwmeester scored the other Blues goals.
Colorado's goals came from 18-year-old rookie center Nathan MacKinnon on a power play 5:30 into the first period, from center Matt Duchene, his 12th of the season, and from center Ryan O'Reilly after the Blues opened a 6-1 lead in the third period.
Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak made 21 saves. Giguere finished with 18, and Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov stopped four of the six shots he faced.
NOTES: The Blues and Avalanche, who became division rivals in the NHL's realignment, met for the first of four meetings this season. ... The Blues officially signed free agent D Carlo Colaiacovo to a one-year contract. He helps provide depth after D Jordan Leopold was lost for two months because of a hand injury. Colaiacovo, who did not dress for the game, played with the Blues from 2008 through 2012. He will wear uniform No. 13, the first Blue to wear that number since Dan Hinote in 2008-09. ... For the game, the Avalanche moved 18-year-old rookie Nathan MacKinnon from center to right wing. He played on a line with C Paul Stastny and LW Gabriel Landeskog. ... The Blues will conclude a five-game homestand with a game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night. The Avalanche return home Saturday night to host the Florida Panthers.

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