Elliott makes 24 saves, Blues top Blue Jackets

January 31, 2013, 10:11 PM

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Barret Jackman, Patrik Berglund and Vladimir Tarasenko each scored in the opening 14 minutes, Brian Elliott made 24 saves and the St. Louis Blues won their fourth straight game with a 4-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night.

David Backes, who also had an assist, added an empty-netter. T.J. Oshie had two assists.

Derick Brassard scored for Columbus, which played on even terms over the final 46 minutes but couldn’t overcome the early blitz. Steve Mason, who came on in relief of Sergei Bobrovsky after the early goals, stopped all 14 shots he faced.

The Blues took command and locked up the two points before a crowd of 11,155 could settle into its seats.

Just 2:19 in, Jackman almost lackadaisically wristed the puck on net from the boards near the blue line. It sailed past Jamie Langenbrunner and defenceman Tim Erixon, playing his first game for the Blue Jackets, who were tangled near the left hash. It continued on past a surprised Bobrovsky for Jackman’s second of the year.

It was the third time that Bobrovsky, who has been solid in net most of this young season, has been victimized for a soft goal in the first minutes of the game.

St. Louis wasn’t done.

The Blues went on a power play at the 10:06 mark when Vinny Prospal was called for a high stick — and 17 seconds later the puck was in the net again. This time Berglund took a drop pass from Oshie and rocketed a hard shot from the top of the left circle for his fourth of the season.

Soon after, Tarasenko took a pass from Alexander Steen, was hit by defensive James Wisniewski near the right hash and before hitting the ice got enough stick on the puck to get it past Bobrovski.

Tarasenko has been a revelation so far for the Blues, scoring five goals to go with four assists in seven games. He was the Blues’ first-round pick, 16th overall, in the 2010 draft and has been brilliant in his debut season, leading all NHL rookies in goals.

That was it for Bobrovsky, who was replaced by Mason after facing just 11 shots.

The Blue Jackets came out harder in the second period, pulling to 3-1 on Derick Brassard’s power-play goal — in between a series of fights. After Brassard lifted a high wrister for his first goal, there were two fights at once that resulted a Columbus power play.

But after building the early lead, the Blues were content to play solidly and not take any chances, while Columbus could never get the goal to draw within one.

NOTES: The game was the second of a franchise record-tying six-game homestand for Columbus. … St. Louis LW Andy McDonald played despite a lower-body injury. He hit the side of the net on a wide-open empty-netter in the final minute, provoking some jeers from the crowd. … The Blues opened a brief two-game, back-to-back road trip. They play at Detroit on Friday night. … Blue Jackets winger Jonathan Audy-Marchessault made his NHL debut. … The Blues came in leading the league in fewest shots allowed per game at 19.5. The Blue Jackets had 25.

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