COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -Fredrik Modin and the Columbus Blue Jackets hope their three-game winning streak is a sign of better things to come next season.
Modin scored his 20th goal of the season - and 400th point of his career - in the Blue Jackets' 4-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Sunday night.
"It is always nice to play good hockey and, even though the playoffs are out of the picture, it is good to know in the back of your head for the start of next season that we can play well and put some wins together," Modin said. "And that is what we are looking to do, to build off this and play solid hockey for the rest of the year."
Manny Malhotra added a goal and an assist for the Blue Jackets, who got 25 saves from Fredrik Norrena. Derrick Walser and Geoff Platt also scored, and Jason Chimera had three assists.
The Blue Jackets, who will miss the playoffs for the sixth straight season, are trying to catch the Blues and finish third in the Western Conference's Central Division. The Blue Jackets have 69 points, five behind St. Louis. The teams meet again Tuesday night in St. Louis.
Doug Weight scored for St. Louis, which has lost three of four.
"They deserved to win obviously," St. Louis coach Andy Murray said. "They played better than we did. I think our whole team was not as good as we needed to be. We're trying to get better everyday and today we didn't make a step ahead, we kind of went back."
Modin scored 4:57 into the second period when he took a pass from David Vyborny and roofed the puck with a backhand shot to give the Blue Jackets a 3-1 lead. Alexander Svitov, who carried the puck past three Blues defenders and into the offensive zone, earned an assist on the play.
It is the fifth time that Modin has scored at least 20 goals in a season.
"It feels good. Milestones are always nice, especially when you win," Modin said.
It was also a milestone night for Chimera, although not to the same degree. His three assists were a career high for a game. He now has 32 points, also a career high.
"It seems like the puck was kind of bouncing my way. It's a little bit of luck, but it's also about getting the puck to the net," Chimera said. "Any time you can get some points and help your team win it's nice."
The Blue Jackets took a 2-1 lead in the first period by scoring on two of their first seven shots. Walser scored his second goal of the year, and second in three games, when he put in a rebound of Chimera's shot 3:29 into the period.
After Weight scored on a 5-on-3 at 5:30 of the first period to make it 1-1, Malhotra answered 14:28 into the first period with a slap shot from the right circle.
Columbus made it 4-1 on Platt's goal 3:10 into the third period.
Norrena improved to 22-19-3 in his first season with the Blue Jackets.
"I was feeling really confident out there, had a good feeling in my body," he said.
Weight's goal, his 13th of the season, came on the only power play the Blues converted in eight chances.
Columbus is 3-1-3 against the Blues this season.
Notes: Blue Jackets' defenseman Rostislav Klesla, who suffered a hip pointer in a win over Detroit on Thursday, did not play. ... St. Louis' Jason Bacashihua started in goal because the team's top two goaltenders, Curtis Sanford (groin) and Manny Legace (knee), are on injured reserve. He made 22 saves. ... The Blue Jackets are 26-24-5 under coach Ken Hitchcock and 17-16-4 in Nationwide Arena.
|PPG - Derrick Walser (2) ASST: Jason Chimera (17), Anders Eriksson (22)|
1 - 0 CBJ
|PPG - Doug Weight (13) ASST: Glen Metropolit (18), Lee Stempniak (24)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Manny Malhotra (8) ASST: Jason Chimera (18)|
2 - 1 CBJ
|Freddy Modin (20) ASST: David Vyborny (46), Alexander Svitov (11)|
3 - 1 CBJ
|Geoff Platt (4) ASST: Jason Chimera (19), Manny Malhotra (15)|
4 - 1 CBJ
|David Backes Interference against Freddy Modin|
|Nikolay Zherdev Holding|
|Jason Chimera Cross checking|
|Jody Shelley Hooking|
|Alexandre Picard Hooking against Lee Stempniak|
|Barret Jackman Interference|
|Geoff Platt Interference - Goalkeeper against Jason Bacashihua|
|Radek Dvorak Hooking|
|David Vyborny Hooking|
|Sergei Fedorov Kneeing against Ryan Johnson|
|Gilbert Brule Charging|