The St. Louis Blues may be out of the playoff race, but they're determined to finish strong.
Patrik Berglund scored twice and Jaroslav Halak had 23 saves to lead the Blues to a 6-1 victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Sunday night.
Chris Porter, Andy McDonald, Alexander Steen and Carlo Colaiacovo also had goals, with Chris Stewart, Matt D'Agostini and Vladimir Sobotka each adding two assists for the Blues, who have earned points in five of six games.
"We are division rivals. So obviously when you play against division rivals, you want to beat them, you want to win every game," Halak said. "That's what we were trying to do."
R.J. Umberger, who tied the Blue Jackets record for consecutive games played with 243, had the lone goal for Columbus, which has lost three straight.
"We just weren't very good," Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel said. "Our compete level wasn't very good. We weren't ready to match what St. Louis was doing."
The lopsided win was payback for the Blue Jackets' 8-1 victory over the Blues in November.
Before that game, the teams got into a shouting match in a corridor outside the dressing rooms. The bad blood carried over to the ice, where Columbus dominated. In that game, St. Louis' T.J. Oshie broke an ankle and missed 31 games. The Blues were 8-1-2, but that loss in Columbus started a five-game skid that sent St. Louis spiraling down the standings.
"It's probably just two teams that like to play hard and guys who are willing to push that envelope," Blues coach Davis Payne said, explaining the chippy nature of the game and the series.
"If you look at all the games, one team has jumped ahead so it has never really been that tied, tight hockey game, a one-goal hockey game," he added. "You start to get too much distance on the scoreboard, and one team or the other team usually has some sort of a response to get their team going. That may be one reason."
Up by one goal heading into the second period on Sunday, St. Louis scored twice to take control.
McDonald skated diagonally through the high slot and unleashed a hard wrister from the left hash that caught the top of the net on the power play.
In the final minute, Berglund and D'Agostini sandwiched Columbus' Marc Methot in the neutral zone and stripped him of the puck. Stewart fed Berglund, who worked his way past two defensemen and again beat Mathieu Garon high on his glove side to make it 4-1. Steen and Colaiacovo then poured it on with goals in the last 5 minutes of the game.
The Blues broke out to a 2-0 lead, scoring early and late in the first period.
Berglund took Stewart's pass from the back wall, skated past Columbus' Antoine Vermette, got off a shot and then beat defenseman Craig Rivet to the rebound for his 21st.
Garon then was victimized for a soft goal when Porter flipped a backhanded shot from a hard angle that glanced in off the goalie's left shoulder and back.
The Blue Jackets had failed to score on 42 power plays, then scored for the second time in four chances since that drought.
In the final minute with the man advantage, Derick Brassard's hard shot from the top of the right circle was blocked but Umberger got two whacks at it to notch his 25th.
The goal gave Umberger a career-high 56 points, one better than last season.
Umberger was playing in his 246th consecutive game, dating to April 2, 2008, his third-to-the-last game while with Philadelphia. His 243 straight with Columbus tied Jason Chimera's mark.
"We just looked like we had nothing in the tank," Umberger said. "We just looked flat."
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.