Blues surpass the 100-point mark with win over Jets

News-DemocratMarch 17, 2014 

— David Backes scored two goals Monday, one of which came without benefit of a shot, and the St. Louis Blues reached the 100-point mark for the sixth time in franchise history with a 3-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets.

The St. Patrick's Day game between the Blues and Jets perhaps fittingly featured a long brawl at the end that included nearly everyone on the ice.

The scrum involved several players from both teams, including Roman Polak, Maxim Lapierre, Ryan Reaves and Barret Jackman of the Blues and Olli Jokinen, Dustin Byfuglien, Jacob Trouba and Blake Wheeler of the Jets.

"It was a good battle, everybody protecting each other out there," Blues winger Steve Ott said. "You expect it to be chippy, they're playing for their lives over there and we're obviously playing for our points. The rest of the way it's going to be like this with every team."

The final tally was 100 minutes in penalties in the final second of the game, 51 to Winnipeg and 49 to the Blues. There were also 10-minute misconducts for Wheeler, Byfuglien, Jokinen, Trouba, Polak, Lapierre, Reaves and Jackman.

Winnipeg called timeout with 11 seconds left and with Blues' Chris Porter trying to score into an empty net, the fights broke out at the other end.

"It was the exclamation point on the game," said Backes, who wasn't on the ice and said "I had the pom pons on the bench. (Eleven) seconds left in a two-goal game, you don't see a ton of timeouts being called. We had a similar situation in Minnesota a few years ago where I ended up bloody leaving the rink. Things like that happen.

"You don't know what was said over there They're a desperate team, but I think our guys responded well and held their own."

Backes' goals were his 22nd and 23rd.

It was the third straight win by the Blues (47-14-7, 101 points), who eclipsed the 100-point mark for first time since 2011-12.

Winnipeg's Eric O'Dell scored 1 minute, 55 seconds into the third period on a 2-on-1 rush to tie it 1-1. The teams battled it out until Backes scored the go-ahead goal during a power play at the 13:09 mark.

It came on the rebound of a shot by Ian Cole that appeared to deflect off of a Winnipeg defenseman.

"I wish I had a beautiful explanation for you that it was all planned out," Backes said. "At that time of the game, power plays for both teams weren't real spectacular to say the least earlier. It just kind of dumbing it down, shooting the puck, getting bodies to the net , and I was able to find a loose one and swat at it and rolled her through there."

Backed was awarded a rare non-shooting goal with 1:01 remaining when he was taken down by Trouba while trying to fire off a shot into the empty net.

"That doesn't happen a whole lot," said Backes, who couldn't remember getting a goal on a play where he didn't take a shot. "Sometimes when things aren't going perfect for you you'll take them any way you can get them. Hopefully that's the start of a little streak here."

Blues goalie Ryan Miller improved to 7-0-1 since joining the team in a trade with Buffalo, stopping 16 of 17 shots. Miller has stopped 179 of the 195 shots he's faced with the Blues and his poke check attempt nearly kept the Jets' lone goal out of the net Monday.

Blues winger T.J. Oshie sat out the game after being with his fiancee, Lauren Cosgrove, on Monday for the birth of their first child. Their daughter was named Lyla Grace Oshie.

It also was the Blues' first game without winger Vladimir Tarasenko, who will undergo surgery on his right hand Wednesday and is expected to miss six weeks.

"We're hoping (Tarasenko) is back sooner rather than later and our thoughts are with Osh and Lauren and their new baby in the hospital," Backes said. "Hopefully he'll be back with us soon; we miss a guy like that and all his energy.

"He's quite a spark plug for us and you miss a guy like that, not just in the room but on the ice too, making plays all over the place. They're both missed."

After a scoreless first period that saw few high-end scoring chances for either side, the Blues broke on top early in the second.

A shot from defenseman Jay Bouwmeester ended up near the corner and was picked up by Derek Roy, who set up Brenden Morrow in the slot.

All Morrow had to do after taking the pass from his former Dallas Stars teammate was deposit the puck into an empty net for his 11th goal.

The scoring play gave Morrow his first point in 10 games, ended a nine-game scoring drought by Roy and an 11-game scoring drought by Bouwmeester.

Morrow's last goal also came against the Jets on Feb. 8.

It marked the league-leading 44th time the Blues have scored first this season and they are 38-1-5 when it happens.

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

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