ST. LOUIS — Still managing just one goal in regulation, the St. Louis Blues turned up the intensity and put as much work into Thursday's game as they have all season.
The result was a 2-1 shootout victory over Vancouver as the Blues tied it on a goal by Jay Bouwmeester and won it in the shootout on another by Alexander Steen.
With six games left, the Blues (24-16-2) are seventh in the Western Conference playoff race with 50 points, within two of fourth-seeded Los Angeles.
"You've got to concentrate on the two points at a time and let the standings sort themselves out the way they will," said Blues captain David Backes, who earned the game's No. 1 star by dealing out a team-leading six hits. "I think we'll like where we are if we put in efforts like we did tonight."
Andy McDonald and Steen scored for the Blues in the shootout while Blues goalie Brian Elliott stopped both Vancouver shots.
The win was also the 600th in the career of Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, who got No. 1 on Jan. 22, 1996, against the same Canucks. Blues goalie coach Corey Hirsch was in net for Vancouver that night.
What does 600 wins mean to Hitchcock?
"It's because I'm old," he said.
Bouwmeester ended the Blues' goal drought at 92 shots and 169 minutes 24 seconds when he scored the tying goal with 9:10 remaining in the third period.
A flip pass from Blues winger David Perron got through the legs of a Canucks defender and Bouwmeester took over from there on a 2-on-1 with Andy McDonald.
Bouwmeester waited patiently before flipping a shot past Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider for his first goal since joining the Blues.
"It was kind of a lucky play where the guy didn't know where the puck was and it just bounced down," Bouwmeester said. "The guy was kind of playing over towards (Andy), so it was a pretty good angle to shoot. You take those when you get them I guess."
Three of the Blues' previous four goals were scored by defensemen, with McDonald the last Blues forward to score (last Thursday vs. Minnesota).
The Blues got a lot more shots Tuesday, but not all reached the proper destination. They outshot the Canucks 36-22 and had 21 more shots that missed the net altogether.
After the Blues stretched their power-play drought to 0-for-4 on the night, Vancouver got a late power play in the second period and grabbed the lead.
That power play came after Blues forward Vladimir Sobotka was called for a questionable hooking penalty against Cam Barker, who went down on the ice.
With 12.2 seconds remaining in the period, Vancouver's Alexander Edler flipped a high wrist shot that went in off the arm of Elliott and the goalpost.
Elliott was screened on the play as the shot snaked its way through traffic.
"I almost kind of guessed that he shot," Elliott said. "I saw everybody kind of react to it, so I knew he was going to that side. I got a piece of it on my arm, then (it hit) post and went in."
Backes and Vancouver's Alexandre Burrows became involved in an altercation after Backes tried to drop the gloves to fight Canucks defenseman Keith Ballard.
Burrows grabbed Backes from behind, earning a double minor for roughing while Backes got two minutes each for cross-checking and roughing. Ballard earned a high-sticking minor and the Blues were left with another power play opportunity they failed to cash in.
But for the rest of the night, Backes was like a bowling ball leaving Canucks scattered in his wake.
Even after getting medical attention in between the second and third period, Backes came out with a vengeance in the third.
"He was a man," Elliott said. "I think he responded really well and I think we need that leadership by example. Guys don't want to go up against him, he can play with the best of them out there. Him banging out there was great to see."
Backes was more worried about the win.
"We've got to turn the temperature up a notch there because what we were doing had us down 1-0 and we wanted better," he said. "We had to bring a little bit more effort with a lot more physicality and more pucks to the net.
"It's a satisfying feeling to have to put so much into a hard battle and to come out with what we needed."
The Blues' power play was 0-for-4 and the current drought reached 6-for-76 over the last 28 games.