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Brad Boyes scores his 31st goal and Blues beat Blue Jackets 5-1

ST. LOUIS - The St. Louis Blues kept the puck at the other end of the rink, giving goalie Manny Legace what almost seemed like a day off.

Brad Boyes' 31st goal snapped a five-game point drought and was one of a season-best three power-play goals in a 5-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday night. Legace, who faced 44 shots in a 2-1 overtime loss at Nashville on Saturday night, had to make only 17 saves on short rest.

"We wanted to obviously make Manny's job a little bit easier," coach Andy Murray said. "I reminded them quite strongly before the game, challenged a few guys, and indicated last night our goaltender played his butt off for us and we didn't help him very much.

"There's a few guys that had to elevate their game and I mentioned who those individuals were."

The 35-year-old Legace has played in 47 of the Blues' 58 games, four times playing on consecutive days since Jan. 23. The Blues have had difficulty finding a capable backup.

"I'm getting used to them," Legace said. "It's a little tough, especially when you play two good teams competing for playoff spots.

"The boys came out unbelievable and just played a beautiful game."

Rick Nash scored his 31st goal, his fourth short-handed, for Columbus. It's the second short-handed tally of the month for Nash, who has six goals in six games against the Blues this season.

But overall it was a poor follow up to a 5-1 victory at Detroit on Friday.

"We took some really poor penalties, by people that should have known better," Hitchcock said. "It's pretty disappointing."

Andy McDonald netted his 100th career goal, defenceman Matt Walker scored his first in 153 career games and rookie David Perron added his 11th for the Blues, who have won three of four and tied Columbus for 11th place in the Western Conference. The goal total is one off their season best.

"I thought we were outcompeted right from the start," Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock said. "I thought they were stronger on the puck, stronger on the 1-on-1s. They were better everywhere."

Boyes, the Blues' first 30-goal scorer since Keith Tkachuk had 33 in 2003-04, put the Blues ahead 3-1 on a power play at 5:51 of the second period. His one-timer from the top of the left circle deflected off Pascal Leclaire's pad and then sailed over the goalie's shoulder.

McDonald broke in alone for his 12th goal, also on a power play. Perron, a first-round draft pick in the 2007 draft who had been a healthy scratch the previous two games, executed a slick give-and-go with Lee Stempniak when he tapped a deflection past Leclaire to put the Blues ahead to stay at 2-1 at 2:18 of the second.

Walker, who had been a healthy scratch the previous six games, opened the scoring at 7:44 of the first on a drive from the right point that appeared to deflect off the stick of a Columbus player. Tkachuk got his 18th on the deflection of a Stempniak drive on a power play with 7:40 to go.

Brewer, named captain earlier this month, doubled his previous assist high. He has one goal and 18 assists in 53 games and had been scoreless the previous three games.

"He's just played so very, very well," Murray said. "We talk about leadership by example, that's why we gave him the 'C'."

The Blue Jackets' highlight came early. Nash was cherry-picking at the Blues' blue line and skated in alone at 15:38 of the first, throwing several moves at Legace before tapping in a forehand to tie it at 1.

Jan Hejda's clearing effort deflected off Brewer's stick, taking a detour on its way to Nash.

"In hindsight, if I let that go, nothing happens," Brewer said. "It was a beautiful bounce onto a 30-goal scorer's tape."

Notes: Sergei Fedorov returned for Columbus after missing 13 games with a concussion and played on the first line, totaling two shots. ... Blues D Bryce Salvador did not dress a day after leaving with back spasms from a first-period cross-check by Nashville's Jason Arnott, and Murray said Salvador was day to day. ... Walker has three points in 21 games this season and has one goal and 10 assists for his career.


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