Fredrik Modin scored twice and Fredrik Norrena stopped 19 shots in the Blue Jackets’ second straight 4-1 victory over St. Louis on Tuesday night. “The Blues are a hardworking team and we have to match their work ethic,” Modin said. “I thought we did that, again.”
Rick Nash added his 24th goal and David Vyborny and Ron Hainsey each had two assists to help the Blue Jackets win their fourth in a row. Columbus has outscored its opponents 15-5 during the run, including an identical 4-1 victory over the Blues at home on Sunday.
“We were lousy,” Blues coach Andy Murray said.
Coach Ken Hitchcock thought the Blues were mentally drained in Columbus after beating the Red Wings in a shootout the previous day. This time he thought the Blue Jackets’ patience was the key.
“They’re so disciplined in their checking that you just know going into the game you’re not going to get many chances,” Hitchcock said. “We’re not becoming impatient or forcing the issue.”
Columbus finished 4-4 against the Blues, while taking three of four on the road. Three of St. Louis’ victories in the season series came in shootouts.
The Blues have won only two of their last nine, going 2-5-2 in that span, and are two games below .500 at home. Eric Brewer scored in the second period for St. Louis.
“I think we’ve been reasonably good up until the last couple of games,” defenceman Barret Jackman said. “We’re just kind of getting away from the things that have been good for us, getting a lot of traffic to the net and getting a lot of shots.”
Blues goalie Curtis Sanford, returning after missing two games with a lower body injury, was yanked after allowing three goals on 12 shots.
“When your team is struggling that’s when you need your goalie to step up, and I wanted him to step up more than he stepped up,” Murray said. “I took a few other guys out of the game if you were watching.”
Modin scored off his own rebound that deflected off the end boards at 11:30 of the second to put the Blue Jackets ahead 3-0 and chase Sanford in favour of Jason Bacashihua. It was not planned.
“Bank it off the goalie and bank it off the back wall?” Modin said. “Not really. I don’t know if anybody can do that on purpose. But it’s nice when it bounces your way.”
Modin has a pair of two-goal games in the last four games, and has scored five goals in that span. Nash roofed his shot on a two-man advantage in the third for a three-goal lead.
Alexander Svitov started the scoring on a deflection of Hainsey’s shot from the point on a power play at 15:35 of the first, scoring his eighth goal and first in 16 games.
Modin made it 2-0 at 35 seconds of the second when he stole an outlet pass, skated in a semicircle and scored on a high drive when no one picked him up.
Norrena blanked the Blues until Brewer scored his sixth goal off a drop pass from David Backes at 15:28 of the second. He has allowed two or fewer goals in his last six games.
“I’m playing well, I’m playing with confidence,” Norrena said. “It’s nice.”
Notes: The Blue Jackets are 21-1-4 when leading after two periods. … The Blues are 24-16-8 since Murray was hired in December, but only 5-6-3 since dealing Keith Tkachuk and Bill Guerin at the trade deadline. … Vyborny scored 11 points in eight games against the Blues on one goal and 10 assists.