COLUMBUS, Ohio – St. Louis’ Brad Boyes was just glad to finally contribute.
Boyes scored twice and added an assist to help the Blues beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2 Tuesday night.
“It’s been awhile since I put one in so it felt good,” Boyes said of his first goals since Jan. 15. “We’ve been playing well. We’ve been playing solid. For us right now unless everyone goes, we struggle. If everyone picks up what they’ve got to do, that’s when we’re successful.”
Jay McClement also chipped in two goals and Carlo Colaiacovo added two assists for St. Louis, who beat Columbus for the fifth straight time.
The Blues, who lost 4-3 in a shootout to Detroit on Monday, have points in seven of eight (5-1-2) as they try to climb out of the Western Conference basement.
“We played really well in Detroit and we’re disappointed with the loss there,” St. Louis coach Andy Murray said. “There was some determination to get a split on this road trip. The guys battled, scrambled, and did whatever they could do.”
Fedor Tyutin had a goal and assist and R.J. Umberger scored for Columbus. The Blue Jackets, trying to keep pace in the Western Conference playoff race, have lost two in a row.
Columbus goalie Steve Mason made his 19th straight start despite fighting off mononucleosis.
The rookie, who entered tops in the league with a 2.06 GAA and seven shutouts, was just diagnosed with the illness that team medical staff suspect he’s had for about a month. He finished with 18 stops.
The Blues twice came back from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits and held on in the third period behind 15 saves by Chris Mason, now 10-1-1 against the Blue Jackets.
“Guys are playing well and figuring out the style of hockey we need to play to win,” said Chris Mason, who turned aside 33 shots on the night. “We played teams really close and ended losing games and finding ways to lose. I think now we’re just finding ways to hold on to games in the third period.”
With Columbus on a power play, Blue Jackets defenceman Kris Russell sneaked down to the left circle. He fired a shot that bounced off Umberger near the crease to give the Blue Jackets a 1-0 lead at 8:50 of the first period. The goal was Umberger’s 16th of the season.
Boyes responded for the Blues just 48 seconds later. Steve Mason couldn’t hold a long shot from David Backes. The puck fell to the ice to Colaiacovo, who tipped the rebound to Boyes for a jam shot at the back post.
Tyutin made it 2-1 with his sixth at 14:11 on a snap shot from the point and with Umberger setting another screen in front of Chris Mason.
St. Louis’ pressure helped force defenceman Jan Hejda to cough up the puck in his own end. After a blocked shot off the stick of Boyes, McClement picked up the loose puck in the slot and scored his sixth at 19:38 to pull the Blues even.
“We had some timely scoring,” Murray said.
Aside from a thunderous hip-check by Hejda that sent Backes airborne at centre ice, most of the action in the second period came late.
Boyes scored his second of the game and 22nd of the season, converting a one-time slap shot from the left circle one second after a Blues power play expired to give St. Louis a 3-2 lead at 15:41. Boyes has seven points in his last three games.
The Blue Jackets’ Fredrik Modin and Rick Nash, and St. Louis’ Keith Tkachuk all hit the post down the stretch in the second period.
Early in the third period with St. Louis on a four-minute power play, Nash hit the post on a breakaway.
“The third period was the first time we decided to dig our heels in,” Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said.
McClement scored his second of the game and seventh of the season into an empty net at 19:12.
Notes: The Blue Jackets finished a four-game homestand 2-2. … The Blues are 8-2-2 against teams from the Central Division. … Columbus D Rostislav Klesla played his first game since breaking his foot on Jan. 3 against St. Louis. … Backes left the game favouring his right knee after Hejda’s check and did not return. … The Blue Jackets finished 1-for-5 on the power play, St. Louis 0-for-4.