(HockeyStL) -- The St. Louis Blues relied heavily on its captain and a rookie netminder to get past the streaking Columbus Blue Jackets, who have recently entered the playoff picture.
Nine seconds after Artem Anisimov tied the game 1-1 in the second period, David Backes potted his second goal in as many games after enduring a 14-game goal drought.
Somehow Backes, rolling on the ice in front of the Blue Jackets net, was able to put the puck between the legs of Sergei Bobrovsky, who has the third-best save percentage in the league.
"Well, I'm not going to tell you all my secrets," Backes joked. “It's just a play where (Alex Steen) throws it in to the middle to where (Jaden Schwartz) and I go to the net. I go down and I just find the puck on my back and I said, 'hey, I might as well whack this towards the net somewhere.'”
His performance was praised by his head coach after logging 18:38, the most among the team’s forwards, and winning 14 of 23 faceoffs in the 3-1 victory.
“The best player on the ice was our captain (David Backes),” Ken Hitchcock said. “He needed to step up with everything that has gone on here and he really stepped up. It’s good to see.”
That whack of the puck was the eventual game-winning goal for the Blues, but it may not have happened without another strong performance from rookie goalie Jake Allen, who stopped 26 of 27 shots.
Allen stood tall after the Blue Jackets failed to score on golden opportunities, including a shorthanded breakaway by Mark Letestu early in the second period.
“It was just an unfortunate bobbled puck over (Kevin Shattenkirk’s) stick and I just tried to be as patient as I could,” Allen said of the play. “I think he tried to go five-hole on me. If they would have scored that it would have taken our momentum away.”
Allen also broke up a potential breakaway for Marian Gaborik and made a sprawling right pad save on Cam Atkinson in the first period. He also made a critical save with Columbus on the power play with under one minute left in the game.