Blues sharp in road win
The Blues made a big splash with the trade for Calgary defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, but with every wave there is a strong undertow, and Monday night it was a 4-1 victory over Minnesota. The Wild were 8-1 in their last nine games entering Monday’s meeting with the Blues and goaltender Niklas Backstrom was riding a career-high eight-game winning streak. But the Blues solved Backstrom for four goals on 24 shots and knocked off the No. 3-ranked team in the Western Conference standings. “Our first two periods were excellent,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “All in all, it’s a good road win.” The Blues snapped their own three-game losing streak, and after returning home for a day of practice will head back on the road to face Chicago. Jaden Schwartz, Andy McDonald, Kevin Shattenkirk and Barret Jackman each scored for the Blues, who lost goaltender Jaroslav Halak to injury but received a solid bounce-back effort by Brian Elliott. Elliott made 20 saves for his fourth victory off the season, his first since a 4-1 win over Columbus on Jan. 31. “Obviously you don’t want to see a teammate go down,” Elliott said. “Jaro is a big part of our team. We hope for a quick recovery.” Entering a stretch in which the Blues will play six of their next seven games on the road, Monday’s game against Minnesota was seen as a difficult kickoff. The Blues knocked off Minnesota 5-4 in overtime back in January, but the clubs have gone in different directions since then, with the Wild winning 15 of their last 20 games. But 12½ minutes into the game, Schwartz made a heads-up play to put the Blues in front. He denied a Wild attempt to clear the zone and skated into the slot before putting a wrist shot past Backstrom for his fourth goal of the season.
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