Blues pound out victory over Islanders

News-DemocratDecember 5, 2013 

— Returning to Scottrade Center helped the St. Louis Blues forget all about that two-game losing streak.

The Blues improved to 12-1-2 at home this season by using a dominant second period to help crush the New York Islanders 5-1 at Scottrade Center.

Jay Bouwmeester, Derek Roy, David Backes, Magnus Paajarvi and Brenden Morrow all scored for the Blues, who collected three power-play goals for the second time this season.

"Once we got out in the second (period) we got back to what we do best, shooting pucks and getting bodies to the front of the net," said Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who collected two assists and now has 18 in 27 games. "That's usually the battles that we win."

The Blues went 1-for-10 on the power play during back-to-back road losses to San Jose and Los Angeles, but the special teams unit was lighting things up on Thursday before a crowd of 14,152.

The Blues, who entered the night third in the league on the power play, are 25-for-97 with the man advantage. They reached that 25-goal total in only 27 games after scoring 29 power-play goals in 48 games (the lockout-shortened full season) a year ago.

"We played against two teams that pressure the puck a lot," Shattenkirk said of the Kings and the Sharks. "We kind of overcomplicated things and tonight we just got back to simple point shots and getting pucks to the net and working on winning those battles."

The Blues (19-5-3) improved to 33-9-5 in interconference play since 2010-11, the best mark in the NHL during that span. The Islanders (8-16-2) dropped the first game of a five-game road trip and are winless in their last eight games.

"We found our game again, especially in the second period," said Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak, who stopped 22 of 23 shots and improved to 15-4-2. "We were hard on the puck. We skated hard and we outbattled them."

Though the Islanders had several high-end scoring chances in the opening period, it was the Blues jumping out on top.

Bouwmeester's blast from just inside the blue line snaked its way through traffic and got an assist from some fine screening work being done in front of Islanders goalie Anders Nilsson by Blues winger Jaden Schwartz.

The Blues received a scare in the first period when a shot by New York's Andrew MacDonald connected with the helmet of defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. Pietrangelo was trying to block the shot when the puck deflected off his helmet.

He went to the dressing room, but returned before the period ended and played the rest of the way.

Early in the second period, a shot by Islanders star John Tavares came up high, hitting Halak right in the front of the mask.

Halak appeared stunned and was bleeding from his lower lip, but remained in the game.

"You should have seen the other guy though," joked Halak, his lip still bloodied after the game. "I just got a puck in the cage and probably the pressure cut my lips. Nothing major, everything is good."

Halak was adamant about remaining in the game. He stopped 22 of 23 shots and improved to 15-4-2.

"I wanted to stay, it wasn't bad," he said. "(Blues trainer) Ray (Barile) was able to stop the bleeding and if I don't need stitches that's why I shouldn't come out."

Less than two minutes later, the Islanders tied it on a blast off the stick of MacDonald at the 5:19 mark.

The Blues were held without a shot for nearly the first seven minutes of the second period, but answered the Islanders goal quickly on a goal by Roy.

Roy redirected a shot from the point by Shattenkirk, then kept battling in front for the rebound before getting a shot past Nilsson.

Roy has four of his seven goals and 11 of his 19 points on the power play.

"Net presence was important and we work on it every day at practice," Roy said. "We're just trying to get (goals) like that on the power play, keep it simple and get guys toward the net."

Backes scored his team's third power-play goal of the night a couple minutes later, ripping a wrist shot past Nilsson from the top of the right faceoff circle with T.J. Oshie screening in front.

The Blues scored three times on their first nine shots, then got another goal later in the second period by Paajarvi.

A strong set-up move by Patrik Berglund led to the goal as he held his man off while sending the puck in front to Paajarvi, who scored his second this season.

"Two guys went on Bergie, so I kind of yelled really hard," Paajarvi said. "He heard me and it was a great pass. I wanted it."

Roy delivered a backhanded seeing-eye pass through traffic to Morrow in front for the Blues' fifth goal with 6:41 remaining. It was Morrow's fifth goal this season.

Contact reporter Norm Sanders at 239-2454, nsanders@bnd.com or on Twitter @NormSanders

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