ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Two newcomers from Phoenix are helping the St. Louis Blues
stay in the playoff hunt.
Mike Sillinger scored two goals, and Brian Savage added another as the Blues
rallied to earn a 5-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night.
The Blues acquired Sillinger and Savage from the Phoenix Coyotes last week
in separate deals. In five games, Sillinger has three goals and two assists.
``It's my job,'' the 32-year-old Sillinger said. ``It's like a second life
for me. It's been a tough year for me. I had hernia surgery at the start of the
year. I enjoyed it at Phoenix, but coming here and getting a chance for the
playoffs, especially at my age, it's all a player can ask for.''
Savage is also pleased to be on a playoff contender.
``We couldn't let these two points slip away,'' Savage said. ``It was
desperate times in the third period there and we came through.''
After the Blues took a 2-0 lead on goals by Sillinger and Alexander
Khavanov, the Blue Jackets came back to take the lead when Trevor Letowski
scored twice and Alexander Svitov added a goal.
St. Louis responded with three goals in the third period.
``They didn't play desperate until the third period when it was 3-2,''
Columbus coach Gerard Gallant said. ``I thought they played like a team that
was too nervous to make some mistakes. They're a good hockey team, don't get me
wrong. In the first two periods, I thought they were playing laid back and
didn't want to make mistakes.''
Keith Tkachuk's winner came when Columbus' Todd Marchant was off for
tripping. After Petr Cajanek muffed a shot, Tkachuk got the puck and scored at
12:37. Sillinger scored his second of the game at 16:36 on a two-on-one break.
The Blues tied it at 3 when Savage poked in a rebound of Doug Weight's shot
``In the first two periods, we were really, you know, awful,'' Tkachuk said.
``For a big game like this at this time of the year, you can't just turn it on
and expect to go. It has to be there.
``We were behind the eight-ball there for a while. We had to fight through
Letowski expected the Blues' comeback.
``We knew they were going to come out hard in the third,'' Letowski said.
``It's only natural. They're fighting for their lives.''
The Blue Jackets took the lead at 2:47. Nikolai Zherdev flung the puck in
from the top of slot toward the net, and Letowski deflected the shot in off the
The Blues outshot Columbus 17-6 in the third period and 32-21 for the game.
St. Louis, which has reached the playoffs 24 consecutive years, moved one
point ahead of Los Angeles in the race for eighth place in the Western
Conference. The Blues' postseason streak is the longest current run in
Columbus, an NHL-worst 5-23-4-2 on the road, has dropped five straight
The Blues, 4-0-2 in their last six, went 5-1 this season against Columbus.
St. Louis is 9-1-1 at home versus the Blue Jackets.
St. Louis led 1-0 after the first period on Sillinger's short-handed goal,
the Blues' first since Jan. 1.
Blue Jackets goalie Fred Brathwaite was hit by a long shot from Bryce
Salvador. Brathwaite finished the first period but was then replaced by Marc
Denis because of a groin injury. Brathwaite is day to day.
St. Louis went ahead 2-0 at 4:46 of the second period on Khavanov's
power-play goal, the first shot against Denis.
``We kind of fell asleep after that and turned the puck over too much,''
Blues forward Dallas Drake said.