Skip to main content


Backes scores four goals, Blues defeat Coyotes

by Jerry Brown /

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- After T.J. Oshie became the fourth St. Louis Blues player with a hat trick this season Saturday against the San Jose Sharks, he predicted linemate David Backes could be next to join the club.

It took three days for Oshie's prediction to pan out, and he underestimated the St. Louis captain a little bit.

Backes scored four straight goals in a 17:00 span of the second and third periods, and the Blue continued their dominance of the Coyotes with a 6-0 win at Gila River Arena on Tuesday.

"Even after the first (period), I said, '[Backes] is going to be getting a couple tonight,'" said Oshie, who had assists on three of Backes' four goals to give him seven points in the past two games. "He's been playing really hard and doing a lot of the grunt work for me and [Alexander Steen] on the end of the scoresheet. Tonight was his night. We were feeding him, and he was putting it in the back of the net."

Brian Elliott made 23 saves for his second shutout of the season.

The Blues have outscored the Coyotes 12-1 in two games in Arizona. Jaden Schwartz had a hat trick and a career-high four points in a 6-1 win at Gila River Arena on Oct. 18.

St. Louis has won six straight games in Arizona, outscoring the hosts 29-8. The Coyotes have not defeated the Blues at home since a 2-1 victory March 22, 2011.

Backes scored his 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th goals in succession to turn a 1-0 game into a rout. The Oshie-Backes-Steen line has 12 goals and 29 points in the past six games. Steen had two assists Tuesday.

"We didn't play a perfect game, but it might have been the best 60 minutes of our season so far," Backes said. "All four lines. All three sets of defensemen. And Brian Elliott was fantastic in goal. The steps we're building, first in San Jose and then here tonight, if we continue to bring that, we'll continue to have a lot of success."

It was the second time in Backes' career he scored four goals in a game. He also did it April 2, 2009, against the Detroit Red Wings.

Five St. Louis players have combined for six hat tricks in the first 40 games this season, the most of any team in the NHL and the most by the Blues since the 1984-85 season.

"It's crazy. We've gone years without a hat trick and now we have six," Backes said. "I don't know how to explain it, but you won't hear anyone complaining about having hot nights like that. Five guys (with hat tricks), that says something about how different guys are stepping up every night."

The Coyotes had won four of their past five games, but never mustered a sustained attack Tuesday. Goalie Mike Smith made 33 saves, but St. Louis dominated the game in every aspect, outshooting Arizona 39-23.

Center Martin Hanzal sat out because of an upper-body injury after a career-high four points against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday. But it was about more than one missing man for the Coyotes.

"We challenged our group to have the ability to play in a game like that and we didn't fare very well," Arizona coach Dave Tippett said. "After they got that fourth [goal] on a poor mistake by us, it would have been easy to take [Smith] out. But the shots were 32-14. That's not a goaltender problem; that's a people-in-front-of-them problem.

"To take the goaltender out in that situation, you're letting a lot of guys off the hook, and we need more guys on the hook in that room. We weren't even close in that game. Let's be honest, that's not a goaltender issue, that's a look-in-the-mirror issue. … That's garbage."

The Blues' NHL-leading power play had its way with the Coyotes, going 3-for-5. Two of Backes' goals came with the man advantage; Schwartz scored the other.

St. Louis is 7-for-9 on the power play in two games against Arizona this season, and the Backes line is a big reason.

"If the lines play the right way, all the goals 5-on-5 are drive goals, just attacking the net," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "They're really going to the net hard right now. They've got great speed and tempo in their game."

The Blues had five of their 16 first-period shots on goal in the first 90 seconds and pounced on a miscue by Smith to get on the board. Smith played the puck behind his net and chose to pass straight up the ice to forward Lauri Korpikoski, but the puck went into Korpikoski's skates as two Blues converged.

Smith stopped the first shot by Dmitrij Jaskin, but the rebound went right to Stastny, who pushed it in at 7:57. Stastny's eighth goal was his first in the past 10 games.

St. Louis could have had a bigger first period, but Smith made several nice saves, stopping Stastny on a breakaway with the pad and making saves on rebounds in tight against Schwartz.

After the Coyotes opened the second period by not getting a single shot on a power-play chance, the Blues' man-advantage unit took over

Sam Gagner was called for a holding penalty at 5:52, and the Blues needed 18 second to cash in. Pretty tic-tac-toe passing from Stastny to Oshie to Backes left Backes with an open left side of the net to shoot the puck, and he converted at 6:15.

Kyle Chipchura took another holding penalty 15 seconds later, and St. Louis quickly made it 3-0. Arizona defenseman Zbynek Michalek turned over the puck, leading to a Backes breakaway. The St. Louis captain beat Smith on a wrist shot at 7:21 for the Blues' 35th power-play goal this season.

Backes got his hat trick at even strength at 14:53, taking a pretty return pass from Patrik Berglund and beating Smith glove side to make it 4-0.

Backes scored his fourth goal 3:15 into the third period when he crashed the net and redirected a Steen pass from the far corner by Smith.

Schwartz completed the scoring with a third St. Louis power-play goal at 5:53, redirecting an Alex Pietrangelo one-timer by Smith for his 13th goal.

View More