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Blue Jackets end Blues' 13-game point streak

by Craig Merz

COLUMBUS -- Three nights after Columbus Blue Jackets were embarrassed by their effort in a loss to the Arizona Coyotes, they took out their frustrations on the NHL's hottest team.

Nick Foligno scored twice and had an assist and All-Star Game MVP Ryan Johansen had a goal and two assists Friday in a 7-1 win at Nationwide Arena that ended the St. Louis Blues' seven-game win streak and club-record point streak at 13 games.

Foligno had not scored in 10 games. The two goals gave him a career-high 20, tying him for the team lead with Johansen.

"It's a nice marker," Foligno said of reaching 20 goals. "It's a point where you feel like you're really helping out and contributing. I want more and expect more of myself."

Corey Tropp gave Columbus a 4-0 lead in the second period with his first goal in 66 games, dating to Dec. 29 2013. He also had an assist.

"I'm so happy for him," Foligno said. "He's found his game a little bit. He's using his speed really well and he's holding onto pucks."

Cam Atkinson, Matt Calvert and Scott Hartnell had goals, Brandon Dubinsky contributed two assists and Curtis McElhinney made 32 saves for Columbus (22-25-3), which ended a three-game losing streak.

"It was good to see some guys who don't usually score put some in tonight," Johansen said.

It was the 10th time in franchise history that the Blue Jackets scored at least seven goals. The last time was a 7-3 win vs. the New York Islanders on April 7, 2012.

Paul Stastny scored the lone goal for St. Louis (34-14-4), which was 12-0-1 in its previous 13 games.

"It was one of those games tonight," St. Louis forward Alexander Steen said. "Nothing went our way. We didn't play hard enough or smart enough. There's not much to say. We weren't good enough. It's just a bad game."

Three nights after a 4- 1 loss to the Coyotes, the Blue Jackets jumped all over the Blues, who came to Columbus after a 3-0 victory at the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday.

"They were a rested team. They outplayed us," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We were unfocused at times. We trended this way the last three games. It caught up to us. We'll regroup and get ready for Sunday (a nationally televised home game vs. the Chicago Blackhawks)."

The Blue Jackets led 2-0 after the first period and 5-1 heading into the third.

"We certainly didn't like the last game, especially how we started," Dubinsky said. "The guys were really focused. We knew we had a tough task at hand against a really good team that hadn't lost in 13 games."

Foligno, who assisted on Tropp's goal, narrowly missed a hat trick four minutes into the third when he was denied on a breakaway by backup goalie Jake Allen, who made 16 saves after Brian Elliott was lifted following the Blue Jackets' fourth goal.

Foligno and Atkinson had some luck and showed excellent hand-eye skills on their first-period goals, with each using a baseball swing to swat the puck into the net.

Columbus went up 1-0 with 9:16 left in the period off a rush started by Tropp. He fed Dubinsky for a shot that Elliott stopped, but Foligno knocked in the waist-high rebound for his career-best 19th goal.

"We just didn't play our game," St. Louis defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. "We let them dictate play. They buried their chances. We didn't. We got behind the 8-ball and played come- from-behind hockey pretty much the whole game.

"The success we've had lately, we're going to get the best of every team and tonight was no different."

Atkinson's 10th came with 1:46 remaining in the first and was the result of several fortuitous bounces. Johansen sent a centering pass to Hartnell that hit him, went off the stick of Pietrangelo and came back toward Hartnell. The puck bounced off Hartnell's shield to the back bar on top of the net and came out over the right shoulder of Elliott. Atkinson tapped in the pinballing puck for a 2-0 lead.

"It's obviously a bad bounce," Pietrangelo said. "That's only one goal, though. There's six more we could have taken care of."

The Blue Jackets had little time to enjoy the victory with a game at the Ottawa Senators on Saturday, but coach Todd Richards was nonetheless impressed for one night.

"I don't know if we needed a 7-1 game necessarily, but we needed a win," he said. "They're a very, very good hockey team. Obviously to win 7-1 leaves you with a very good feeling."

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