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Berglund helps Blues battle by Blue Jackets

by Louie Korac

ST. LOUIS -- Patrik Berglund had a hard time scoring goals for the St. Louis Blues through the first 40 games this season.

But Berglund's teammates and coach Ken Hitchcock were happy with the work the forward has put in away from the stat sheet. His confidence never wavered.

Berglund was rewarded Saturday by scoring twice, including one 14 seconds into the third period that helped the Blues pull away and eventually defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-2 in front of 19,611 fans at Scottrade Center.

The Blues rallied for their fifth straight win with a huge second period, getting goals from Berglund, Vladimir Sobotka and Maxim Lapierre that sparked a comeback victory against a Blue Jackets team that got the jump in the first period.

Sobotka and Alex Pietrangelo each had a goal and an assist; Vladimir Tarasenko, David Backes and T.J. Oshie had two assists; and Kevin Shattenkirk had two assists to give him nine points in the past nine games (six assists). Brian Elliott won his sixth straight decision and 13th in a row at home; he stopped 22 shots.

Jaden Schwartz scored to extend his point streak to a career-high eight games (seven goals, three assists).

For Berglund, all it took was a switch from center to left wing that helped spur on a bit of offense.

"Just keep going," Berglund said. "I don't think I can think about it too much. Obviously it's been slow, but if I start thinking about it or changing the way I play, I think that would change me as a player too.

"I've obviously been working even harder at practice shooting more pucks and trying to get it going that way. I pretty much had two lucky bounces."

The Blues have a point in eight straight (7-0-1) and are 10-1-2 in their past 13 games. They have the most home wins (17) in the Western Conference, one more than the Anaheim Ducks.

St Louis' 29-7-5 record through 41 games is its best start ever.

"There have some really great teams in this franchise's history," Backes said. "It's something to hang your hat on a little bit, but we can't rest on it. It's a reality check too because it says you're only halfway through the season. You haven't accomplished anything. We've got another half-season to go and hopefully an extended playoffs."

The Blue Jackets (18-20-4) got goals from Artem Anisimov and Mark Letestu. Curtis McElhinney stopped 31 shots. Columbus was looking for its third win in the past 19 games at St. Louis, which is 16-2-1 in that stretch.

"We played a 20-minute game," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. "They made a push and got their game to another level and we were unwilling to do that. They played a real simple game. We stopped skating. Our compete level wasn’t nearly good enough. Body language wasn’t good coming off the ice. Eventually there has to be a response.

"I didn’t like the way we reacted to it. ... We started getting away from our game. As coaches, we can only say so much. Somebody has to respond to it. Our defenseman and our goaltender were under siege in the second period."

The Blues are accustomed to gearing up as the game moves along, and the second period was no exception.

Down 2-0, they took a 3-2 lead on goals by Berglund, and Sobotka and Lapierre, who scored 1:34 apart.

Jackman's one-timer from the right point deflected off Berglund in the slot, off the left post and in at 7:03, cutting Columbus' lead to 2-1.

Sobotka power drove the net with a backhand shot McElhinney stopped, but Sobotka followed his shot into the net after hitting Tarasenko's skate at 15:55. Lapierre ripped a slap shot from the top of the right circle past McElhinney with Fedor Tyutin screening at 17:29 to give the Blues the lead.

"I tried to shoot the puck," Lapierre said. "It was part of the game plan, shoot from everywhere. I tried to funnel the puck. I didn't even see it. I don't know where it went."

Hitchcock said, "I thought we were waiting for someone else to help us. We didn't have the greatest body language in the first period. We were looking for maybe a call. We were hoping that Columbus wasn't going to keep playing the way they were. We needed to change our attitude a little bit. Once we started to really play through their competition, I thought we played well. I thought the second and third period, we really played well. We started to play through some of the way they were competing and I thought we created a lot of scoring chances for ourselves."

Berglund's redirection of Tarasenko's centering feed from the right boards over McElhinney's left shoulder 14 seconds into the third period gave the Blues a 4-2 lead. It was Berglund's fourth goal in seven games after he had two goals in 31.

"Good things happen when you go to the net," Berglund said. "The whole team really grabbed it in the second and third."

Backes returned to the Blues lineup after missing four games with an upper-body injury, and he helped Schwartz score to make it 5-2 at 8:47 of the third. Pietrangelo's first goal in 29 games (his prior one was on Nov. 2 against the Tampa Bay Lightning) came on a wrist shot from the left circle at 14:13 and made it 6-2.

The Blue Jackets took it to one of the best home teams in the NHL early, getting goals from Anisimov early and a fortuitous bounce to grab a 2-0 lead.

Anisimov fired a wrist shot from the high slot after getting Brandon Dubinsky's pass past a screened Elliott 3:58 into the game, and Letestu's shot from the left-corner boards caromed off defenseman Ian Cole's skate, over Elliott and down into the goal at 11:22 for a 2-0 lead.

"They picked up their game and we didn’t pick up ours (after the first period)," Dubinsky said. "Their intensity went up. They're a good team and we made them look a [heck] of a lot better than they are. We didn’t have a good enough effort in the last 40 minutes. We have to learn from it and try to get better."

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