Blues power past Red Wings 3-2

Wednesday, December 7, 2011
The Blues' Patrik Berglund, left, is congratulated by teammate Kris Russell after scoring against the Red Wings during the third period Tuesday in St. Louis. (Jeff Roberson ~ Associated Press)

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues put an end to their power play woes and caught the Detroit Red Wings in the standings, too.

David Backes got the go-ahead score on the second straight power-play goal of the game for the Blues, who ended a 2-for-39 slump with the man advantage in a 3-2 victory on Tuesday night.

"Enough's enough," Backes said. "Hopefully this is a springboard toward teams not being able to take those liberties because they know they can kill our power play."

Alex Steen had a power-play goal in the second period and Brian Elliott made 27 saves for the Blues, who are 9-2-3 since Ken Hitchcock replaced Davis Payne as coach. The Blues also beat the Red Wings in Hitchcock's first game Nov. 15, and now are tied with Detroit for fourth in the Western Conference.

Elliott bounced back after getting plowed by Justin Abdelkader early in the third period.

"I had the puck covered. I didn't see anything coming, and just got my head taken off," Elliott said. "I've got to watch the play to see the intent, but whatever, we won the game."

Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard also got knocked down late in the game by David Perron, who had been pushed by a teammate. Detroit has lost two consecutive games after winning seven consecutive.

St. Louis entered Tuesday as the NHL's worst with the man advantage -- having scored eight goals in 87 chances. They had eight chances against the Red Wings, scoring twice.

Hitchcock believed the Blues have been ready to bust out.

"We're starting to get it. We're understanding where teams are vulnerable," Hitchcock said. "We've been kind of on the edge of it for three games now, but tonight's nice to finish."

Detroit coach Mike Babcock said the Red Wings made mental errors on both power play goals.

"Those are free goals," Babcock said. "You just give them away."

Detroit's Jonathan Franzen poked the puck between Elliott's pads at 7:42 of the second for his team-leading 13th goal and the early lead.

Steen tied it with his ninth off Jason Arnott's faceoff win only four seconds into a tripping call on Jakub Kindl.

Backes' team-leading 10th goal came on a one-timer from T.J. Oshie in the opening minute of the third period, capitalizing on a delay of game call on Niklas Kronwall for clearing the puck into the stands.

Patrik Berglund's sixth goal of the year beat Howard to the short side on a rush for a 3-1 lead.

Jiri Hudler made it a one-goal game with 1:20 to go.

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