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game recap

Schwartz scores in return to help Blues

Back from injury, also has assist in win against Panthers

by Alain Poupart / Correspondent

Schwartz's first goal of season

STL@FLA: Schwartz notches first goal of the season

2/12/16: In his first game since returning from injury, Jaden Schwartz nets a rebound for his first goal of the season

  • 00:58 •

SUNRISE, Fla. -- After St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock warned hours earlier not to expect too much from Jaden Schwartz in his return, the forward made a major contribution in a win against the Florida Panthers.

Schwartz had a goal and an assist, and the Blues defeated the Panthers 5-3 at BB&T Center on Friday.

"I felt pretty good," Schwartz said. "I tried not to think about it too much, just go out there and play, move my feet early, try to get in the game as quick as I could. The adrenaline was going too. Overall, I felt a little bit better than I thought I would."

Schwartz was playing for the first time since Oct. 20 after missing 49 games with an ankle injury.

"I didn't know what to expect, so it went well," Schwartz said. "It was fun being a part of the team again and contributing."

Video: STL@FLA: Tarasenko swoops in and rips home rebound

Vladimir Tarasenko and David Backes each had a goal and an assist for the Blues, who had failed to score at least two goals in five of their previous six games.

Robby Fabbri and Alexander Steen scored for St. Louis (31-17-9), and defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk got his 200th point with the Blues with an assist on Schwartz's goal. Colton Parayko had two assists.

Goalie Brian Elliott, making his 13th consecutive start, made 28 saves.

"We gave up one early on a bad rebound by me, but we responded really well," Elliott said. "We just kept to our game plan and they kept going in. Having Schwartz back and him getting a goal right away, it's pretty cool."

Jonathan Huberdeau had a goal and an assist for the Panthers (32-17-6), who were 11-1-1 in their previous 13 home games. Derek MacKenzie and Aaron Ekblad scored, and Jaromir Jagr had two assists. Jagr has 1,842 NHL points, eight behind Gordie Howe for third place on the NHL's all-time list, and remains two goals behind Brett Hull for third with 739.

Video: STL@FLA: Fabbri tallies off fortunate carom

Roberto Luongo moved into sixth place among NHL goaltenders by playing in his 907th game, but it was an abbreviated appearance. Luongo, who was tied with Glenn Hall, was pulled after the first period after allowing three goals on 13 shots. Al Montoya made 13 saves in relief.

"It was just to shake up the team," Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said. "[Roberto's] been a horse all year long. It was just to shake up the team; we weren't happy with how we were playing. It actually worked a little bit in the second."

St. Louis led 4-1 after Tarasenko scored at 8:00 of the second period on a rebound after Montoya stopped Jay Bouwmeester's wrist shot from the left circle.

The Panthers made it 4-2 when Ekblad scored at 10:44 after Jagr stole the puck inside the Blues zone. Ekblad beat Elliott with a high one-timer to the glove side from halfway between the top of the circle and the blue line.

Video: STL@FLA: Huberdeau tallies off Campbell's pretty feed

Huberdeau made it 4-3 at 10:47 of the third when he redirected Brian Campbell's pass across the front of the net.

"They were faster, quicker on every loose puck in the first period," Jagr said. "After that, I thought we started putting the pucks in the zone and creating more scoring chances and scored some goals. We had a bad start, but in the second half of the game I thought we were fine."

Steen made it 5-3 at 12:17 when he beat Montoya with a high backhand from a sharp angle. The goal was confirmed after Florida challenged, claiming the play was offside.

MacKenzie, who had two goals when the Panthers defeated the Blues 3-1 at Scottrade Center on Dec. 1, made it 1-0 at 5:05 of the first period before the Blues answered with four consecutive goals.

Video: STL@FLA: Steen backhands a beauty past Montoya

Backes tied it 1-1 at 12:16 with a wrist shot from the left dot that went between Luongo's body and his right arm. It was his first goal in 11 games.

"I kept looking at [Patrik Berglund] and tried to rip it short side, get the goalie moving or thinking it's going over there a little bit and open up a hole," Backes said. "That was a big monkey off my back. It's great to contribute offensively."

Schwartz scored his first goal of the season at 15:58. It came on a rebound after Luongo stopped Parayko's wrist shot from the right circle.

Schwartz played the first seven games of the season before he was injured at practice.

Video: STL@FLA: Backes snaps a short-side goal

"He's been watching games for I don't know how many months now, so it's good to see him get back out there and put it in right away," Elliott said. "We obviously can't expect that every night, but he's a big piece to our puzzle."

Fabbri scored with 18.9 seconds left in the period with Florida center Vincent Trocheck in the penalty box for delay of game. Paul Stastny's centering pass from the side of the net bounced off the skate of defenseman Alex Petrovic to Fabbri, who scored on the short side.

St. Louis ends its two-game road trip, which involved players' fathers, against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday.

Florida continues a six-game homestand Saturday against the Nashville Predators.

"We were not as sharp as we were the past few games," Huberdeau said. "I think tomorrow we've got to come back and be better defensively. That's usually where we're good at. Tonight we allowed too many odd-man rushes."

Video: Blues top Panthers, Schwartz scores in return

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