Steen's stick remains on fire as Blues post another win

News-DemocratOctober 29, 2013 

— The hottest scorer in the NHL found the net again Tuesday at the most opportune time for the St. Louis Blues.

Alex Steen scored his NHL-leading 11th goal in 10 games with 59.4 seconds remaining, snaking a backhander through traffic for a 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets.

The goal gave Steen a career-high five-game goal-scoring streak and was his seventh in the last five games for the Blues (7-1-2).

With the Blues on their sixth power play of the night after being blanked on the first five, Steen took a pass from Jay Bouwmeester and guided a low shot toward the net.

The shot hit the post, then the glove of Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec before deflecting in as the crowd of 15,287 filled Scottrade Center with noise.

"It was a great read by Bo and a great pass," Steen said. "Once I get it I kind of figured I had a little bit of time. It was just nice to see it go in. I'm going low glove; I got fortunate though, it hit the post and then hit him I think and went in. It was nice when I heard the buzzer go."

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said Steen's dogged work at his overall game is leading to this offensive goal mine.

"All of us are really happy with his offensive numbers, but we're more happy with the way his game has evolved," Hitchcock said. "He's become the collective conscience of our hockey club -- on the ice, in the weightroom, anywhere.

"He's a guy all the younger guys follow because of the emphasis he puts in conditioning during the season. I think it pushes the rest of the group to a whole new level."

Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said Steen's work ethic makes him more than deserving of this torrid scoring streak.

"It's pretty impressive isn't it," Pietrangelo said." "He works his tail off day-in and day-out. He's one of the hardest workers I've ever seen in this sport or any sport.

"He deserves all the success, we've just got to make sure he keeps going."

The goal revived a Blues team that had surrendered a short-handed goal to the Jets' Bryan Little with 9:33 remaining.

Blues forward T.J. Oshie swiped the puck while on his knees to set up the go-ahead goal by Pietrangelo at 4:16 of the third period. Oshie got back up, faked a shot and then put the puck onto the stick of Pietrangelo, who buried it quickly with a high shot past Ondrej Pavelec.

The lead didn't last long as the Jets tied it on a short-handed goal by Little.

Oshie had trouble holding the puck in during a power play and Andrew Ladd took off the other way. Ladd somehow guided the puck to Little at the end of his rush before crashing into the net and Little scored with 9:33 remaining.

It was the second straight game the Blues have allowed a short-handed goal.

However, Oshie also drew the penalty that led to Steen's game-winning goal and also was on the ice when it happened.

"Obviously you've got to talk about Osh on that play, too," Steen said. "First to draw the penalty and then to get the puck stopped in their zone so we had a chance to get it back."

Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak stopped 21 of 23 shots and improved to 7-1-1.

It was the Jets' first visit to St. Louis since April 8, 1996, when Winnipeg still had former Blues captain Keith Tkachuk in the lineup.

Brenden Morrow pounced on the rebound of an early shot by Ryan Reaves and slid it into the mostly empty net for his second goal this season.

With Morrow and Derek Roy both in the penalty box, the Jets capitalized on the 5-on-3 opportunity to end their 0-for-26 power-play drought. The rebound of a shot by Ladd bounced off Halak and went straight up, then landed in time for Blake Wheeler to tap it into an empty net.

The Blues nearly killed off the 5-on-3 thanks to captain David Backes, who grabbed a loose puck and lugged it into the Jets' zone while killing valuable time.

The Blues had a point to prove Tuesday after being unable to hold a 3-1 lead over the Jets on Oct. 9. Winnipeg won that game 4-3 in a shootout.

"The game lasts 2 1/2 hours, not two hours," Hitchcock said. "We stopped playing. It wasn't because we were playing a back-to-back and it wasn't a lack of energy, we got a little bit sloppy with the puck and paid for it.

"It's a good lesson for us."

Contact reporter Norm Sanders at 239-2454, or on Twitter @NormSanders

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