Blues continue to cruise, win 3-1

Friday, March 9, 2012
Blues players celebrate a goal by David Backes (42) against the Ducks during the second period Thursday in St. Louis. David Perron assisted on the goal. (Sarah Conard ~ Associated Press)

ST. LOUIS -- Jaroslav Halak couldn't wait to open the newspaper in the morning.

He made 24 saves and posted a career-best seventh straight win to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 3-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night. The Blues have a league-leading 93 points, marking the first time they have led the NHL in points this late in the season since March 9, 2000.

"It's always nice to look at the standings when you are first," Halak said. "More fun that way. This was important for us."

David Backes scored twice and Patrik Berglund had the go-ahead goal for the Blues, who improved to a league-best 28-4-4 at home with their seventh win in eight games.

St. Louis is 20-1-3 in its last 24 home games, and Halak is one of the reasons the Blues have the most points in the NHL. They lead Vancouver by three points in the Western Conference and hold a two-point lead over the New York Rangers in the battle for the President's Trophy.

Halak sports a 1.40 goals- against average and a .943 save percentage during his 7-0 run. He has stopped 167 of 177 shots in the last seven games. Halak also won six successive games in January.

"I'm just trying to have fun out there and keep the guys in the game," Halak said. "It's always great to win a few games in a row. It's a team effort. I wouldn't be able to do it without the guys."

The Blues were 30th and last in the NHL after the 2005-06 season, which has made their climb to the top even more enjoyable.

"This feels good," forward David Perron said. "It's a lot different from five years ago. We're enjoying this, but there's still a lot more work to be done."

Perron added two assists against Anaheim.

"It's an accomplishment and it shows that we've come a long way," defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. "It's exciting, especially given everything we've gone through to get to this point with a couple years that we had there."

Berglund broke a 14-game scoring drought with the winner.

Halak, who improved to 23-10-5, has triggered the rise to the top. His last loss was a 2-1 setback at Columbus on Feb. 14.

"We're not the most talented team in the National Hockey League," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We just find ways to win. That's what this team is about."

The Blues used third-period goals from Berglund and Backes in a span of 2 minutes, 1 second to break a 1-1 tie. Berglund gave his club a 2-1 lead at 4:47 of the third period.

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