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Berglund soaring as Blues host Senators

Hitchcock sticks with hot hand, will start Hutton again in goal

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues

ST. LOUIS - Patrik Berglund's career-long scoring drought is definitely ancient history.

The Blues forward, who went 24-games without scoring from Oct. 25 through Dec. 13, has now scored nine goals over his last 14 games, including both goals in Sunday's 2-1 overtime win against the Anaheim Ducks.

"I'm pretty sure if you ask anyone in the room, they'll say they're happy for Bergie," said Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo. "He's a huge part of our locker room, he's obviously a great player and he's shown what he can do at both ends of the ice. He's scoring big goals, playing a heavy game, rock-solid defensively and on the (penalty kill), and it means a lot to our team. It's nice to see a guy like that - a close friend and a good locker room guy - do well."

It's not just locally that Berglund is impressing of late - since Dec. 15, only Columbus' Cam Atkinson (10) and Edmonton's Pat Maroon (10) have more goals than Berglund's nine.

"He's consistently competing at a high level for the 60 minutes. There's no drop off," Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said. "If you look at his goals, a lot of them are late in games. He just stays with it longer now than he ever has… He's been a real good player for us because he's just stayed with it for an extended period of time. He has not gotten discouraged at all, and that diligence and that work has made him a real good player right now."

Video: Berglund to play in his 600th NHL game

On Sunday, Berglund passed former Blue Chris Pronger for 11th on the all-time games played list with 599. Tonight will be Berglund's 600th game with the Blues.

"It's going very fast for sure. It's been a really exciting time, and I'm really happy to play all 600 of them as a Blue," Berglund said. "I think I've been playing well all year. I went on the longest goal drought I'd ever been on, but I just tried to stay with it and do whatever I could to help the team. As of late, the puck has been going in and obviously it's a good feeling."

HUTTON TO START AGAIN

Blues goalie Carter Hutton will make his third consecutive start tonight when the Blues host the Ottawa Senators at 7 p.m. at Scottrade Center (FSMW, KMOX).

Hutton helped the Blues to back-to-back wins this weekend in San Jose and Anaheim, stopping 45 of the 46 shots he faced.

"Whoever we feel is giving us a chance to win, we're going with," Hitchcock said. "When that runs dry, we'll go the other direction. Right now, Hutts has played well and he's earned the right to keep playing. We'll continue to play him as long as he continues to play well.

Video: Hutton makes third straight start

"This is about getting points and getting wins. Tryout time is over," Hitchcock added. "He's the guy that got the two wins and we want to keep going with him. If he plays well tonight, we'll look at that again. The time for giving chances to people and doing those things is over. You've got to earn your right to play. No matter where you were at the start of the year, no matter what your positioning was, you've got to earn the right to keep playing. Hutts has earned the right to keep playing, so we'll go with him. Jake (Allen) is going to get his chance too and we hope he's taking advantage of his off time. He's worked really hard with (Goalie Coach) Jimmy (Corsi) in the technical aspects, but then you just have to get in the net and start competing."

BLUE NOTES
  • The Blues went 1-1-1 against the Senators last season, including an overtime loss and a shootout win. Most recently, the Blues and Senators participated in an 11-round shootout, with Allen stopping all 11 Ottawa attempts.
  • Jaden Schwartz has six points (one goal, five assists) in four career games vs. Ottawa.
  • Joel Edmundson will appear in his 100th career regular season game tonight.
  • Since joining the Blues in 2011, Kevin Shattenkirk (125) ranks second only to Ottawa's Erik Karlsson (137) in power-play points for a defenseman.
  • The Blues are celebrating Star Wars Night at tonight's game. Fans are allowed to dress up as Star Wars characters, but masks must be removed when entering the arena or when purchasing alcoholic beverages. Light sabers are NOT allowed.
  • Autographed mystery pucks for tonight's game and Thursday's game have been postponed. A new date will be announced in the near future.
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