ST. LOUIS – Blues coach Ken Hitchcock switched Patrick Berglund’s position with hopes of getting the forward going. After the way the move paid off, Hitchcock might want to make the change permanent.
Berglund scored twice after moving from centre to left wing at the start of the second period, and Vladimir Sobotka and Alex Pietrangelo each had a goal and an assist as the St. Louis Blues beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-2 Saturday night for their fifth straight win.
The two goals pushed Berglund’s total to six, after a slow first half.
“I don’t think I can think about it too much,” Berglund said. “Obviously, it’s been slow, but if I start thinking about it, changing the way I played, that would change the way I prepared, too. I’ve just been working even harder in practice, shooting more pucks and trying to get it going that way.”
Hitchock switched Berglund from centre to left wing for just the second time since taking over the Blues early in the 2011-12 season.
Columbus, which led 2-0 lead after the first period, has lost three of four after winning three in a row.
Three of the Blues’ past five wins were at home, where they have won four straight. Despite injuries to key players such as David Backes and Alexander Steen, Hitchcock said his team is playing its best this season.
“I think we’ve played some really good hockey in the last four games at home. I think that’s what we’re happiest about,” he said. “We’ve got a way of playing now. I think what we’ve done here at home is we’ve developed a balance between offence and defence.”
St. Louis, off to its best start midway through a season with 63 points, has scored at least five goals in five of its past eight games.
Maxim Lapierre gave St. Louis its first lead at 3-2 with his fifth goal just 94 seconds after Sobotka’s sixth goal tied it at 17:29 of the second period.
St. Louis got on the board about seven minutes into the second period when Barret Jackman’s shot from the right side glanced off Berglund. The puck hit the far post and trickled past Curtis McEhlinney. His second goal came 17 seconds into the third when he deflected a pass into the goal.
“Today, I had pretty much two lucky bounces but good things happen when you go to the net,” he said.
Jaden Schwartz added his 15th goal about midway through the third to make it 5-2. He’s scored in seven of his last eight games. Pietrangelo finished the scoring with about six minutes remaining.
“We played a 20-minute game, tonight,” Columbus coach Todd Richards said. “They made a push and got their game to another level and we were unwilling to do that. They played a real simple game. We stopped skating. Our compete level wasn’t nearly good enough. Body language wasn’t good coming off the ice.
“Eventually there has to be a response. I didn’t like the way we reacted to it,” he added.
St. Louis goalie Brian Elliott has won 13 consecutive home games, extending a franchise record he set with a 5-0 shutout against Los Angeles on Thursday. McElhinney stopped 31 shots. Elliott faced 23, making 21 saves.
Mark Letestu gave the Blue Jackets a 2-0 lead midway through the first. His shot from outside the left circle hit a Blues defender and popped over Elliott for his second goal of the season.
The Blue Jackets took a 1-0 lead four minutes into the game. Artem Anisimov, standing alone in the middle of the zone with his back to Elliott, took a pass from Brandon Dubinsky. He whipped around and slapped a shot past Elliott, who didn’t move as if he didn’t see the shot. It was the 12th goal of the year for Anisimov.
“We got off to kind of a rocky start in the first,” Berglund said. “But, really, the whole team really grabbed it in the second and third.”
NOTES: St. Louis D Jordan Leopold saw his first action since being activated from injured reserve. He was out since November with a torn ligament in his right hand. … Blues G Joroslav Halak missed his fourth consecutive game with flu-like symptoms. He got pulled after a period Dec. 28 against Chicago before sitting the next four, all St. Louis wins. He’s expected to make the start of a three-game trip starting Tuesday at Edmonton. … St. Louis RW David Backes returned after missing three games with an upper-body injury and had two assists.