Hitchcock wins in return to Columbus
Sunday, 11.27.2011 / 8:42 PM
made sure Ken Hitchcock's return to Columbus was an enjoyable one.
Backes broke a 1-1 tie via the power play 7:49 into the third period to lift the St. Louis Blues
past the Columbus Blue Jackets
2-1 at Nationwide Arena on Sunday night, giving Hitchcock the win in his first game against his former club.
Hitchcock, the winningest coach all-time for Columbus, guided the Blue Jackets to their only playoff berth in 2009 before being fired a season later.
"There's a lot of players on the other side I'm close with," Hitchcock said. "I have a healthy respect for those players because I would say 10 of those guys went through the wall for me."
, who traded from the Blue Jackets earlier this month, also scored to help St. Louis improve to 7-1-2 since Hitchcock replaced Davis Payne on Nov. 6.
made 23 saves for the Blues to move to 10-1-0 this season.
scored, Curtis Sanford
made 27 saves -- losing for the first time in six starts -- and Columbus had its five-game points streak snapped.
"It was almost like a playoff game," Sanford said. "It was like a chess match. Their special teams came out on top. That's usually the difference in these games."
Tied 1-all entering the final period, the Blues' League-worst power play came through. T.J. Oshie
flicked a backhand pass from the left edge of the crease to a wide-open Backes for his ninth goal of the season. It was St. Louis' first man-advantage tally in six games.
"I thought the goal in the second period helped us a lot," Hitchcock said. "But more than anything the grind that we put on in the third period, we got in on a big body game, and that really helped us."
Columbus had plenty of chances throughout, including a power play of its own just a few minutes later, but a hooking penalty by Fedor Tyutin
-- his third minor infraction of the game -- negated the opportunity.
"That was a 200-foot game where you had to battle for every inch," Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel said. "We had a lot of chances to actually score and we didn’t. They certainly capitalized on a couple of mistakes that we made."
Elliot was steady the rest of the way, stopping Antoine Vermette
on a 2-on-1, shorthanded break with just over 5 minutes left. Then with Sanford off for an extra attacker, Elliott blocked Rick Nash
's doorstep stab.
In a mostly tight-checking game with little room to maneuver, Dorsett broke in alone, compliments of a Samuel Pahlsson
steal at center ice, and beat Elloitt at 5:06 of the second period to put Columbus on the board first.
Later in the period, the Blue Jackets marched up the ice on a 3-on-1 after a miscue by Barret Jackman
. Nash slid the puck to Carter, but his shot was blocked by a sprawling Roman Polak
Skating four aside, Steen shook his coverage and powered around the right side, strong-arming a shot on goal. His rebound off Sanford came to Russell near the crease for the quick putback with 8 seconds remaining in the period.
The best scoring chance of the first period came off the stick of Rick Nash
on a semi-breakaway, stopped by Elliott.
"When you lose one and you've got to start over and start a new streak," Arniel said. "You can't let it linger."
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.