ST. LOUIS - St. Louis Blues interim coach Davis Payne was behind the Peoria Rivermen's bench for the first four setbacks of the team's five-game home losing streak.
Still, he could appreciate the sense of relief after Jay McClement had a goal and assist in a big first period of a 4-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night. The Blues won at home for the first time since beating Calgary on Dec. 15 and are 7-14-3 overall in the Scottrade Center.
"I haven't been here long enough to be able to address the true tone of what it's felt like to go through it," Payne said. "I think we should understand with the energy we have in this building and the great fans we have, if we come out and play like we did and play like that consistently, we should expect good results.
"If we don't, we shouldn't."
The Blues took a 3-0 lead on nine shots against Mathieu Garon, who was benched in favour of Steve Mason after one period. B.J. Crombeen and Alex Steen also scored in the opening period for St. Louis, which has won two straight under Payne and ended Columbus' first three-game winning streak since mid-November.
"It's great to smile in here after a game," forward David Backes said. "To get to hoo-rah it up a little and hopefully build on this effort."
McClement, a member of the checking line, said the Blues kept the energy level high like they do when they're travelling. St. Louis is 12-5-4 on the road.
"It was definitely our road game, the road game we've had all year," McClement said. "For whatever reason we haven't had the same efforts at home and it was tough to be able to figure out why."
Fedor Tyutin scored in the second period for the Blue Jackets, who have lost 14 of 17 on the road but had won their previous two including Garon's second shutout of the season Sunday at Dallas. Columbus outscored opponents 9-4 during its winning streak.
"The first period was what killed us," forward Rick Nash said. "The first 10 minutes they took it to us."
Steen added an empty-net goal with 9.2 seconds left and Chris Mason made 26 saves for the Blues, who are an NHL-worst 7-14-3 at home. Those failures led to Payne taking over as coach earlier this month.
St. Louis scored on its first shot after McClement stole a clearing pass from defenceman Jan Hejda, setting up Crombeen's third goal of the season and second in two games at 1:54. Steen scored his eighth on a power play and McClement scored his seventh 42 seconds apart later in the period.
"We battled, but you can't dig yourself a hole on the road and expect to win games," Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said. "It's too much to come back."
Besides the scoring, the first period featured three fights. The Blues' Erik Johnson and Columbus' Mike Commodore got game misconducts for squaring off after Backes and Nash had already dropped the gloves.
"He's one of the best players in the league, there's no question about it," Backes said of Nash. "If we can trade myself for him, I'm willing to do it for the team, and by the time we got of the box we've got a 2-0 lead."
Notes: The Blues' Keith Tkachuk returned three games after getting four teeth knocked out on a slap shot by teammate T.J. Oshie, although he was credited for a goal. Forward Paul Kariya (concussion) also was back after missing six games. ... Columbus LW Fredrik Modin (foot) missed his fourth straight game. ... Columbus is 1-15-3 when trailing after two periods. ... Tyutin has two goals, the last coming on Oct. 24 at Anaheim. ... Attendance of 17,900 was just shy of capacity, ending the Blues' run of 11 straight sellouts. ... Before Tuesday, the Blues had allowed a third-period goal in nine straight games.