Leafs Out of Tune in St. Louis

The Canadian Press | Friday, 12.13.2013 / 12:33 AM

ST. LOUIS - David Backes is not big on statistics.

The St. Louis centre was unaware that his two-goal performance in the Blues' 6-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night was noteworthy.

Backes, who has 15 goals and 14 assists, passed last season's point total of 28. He did so in just 30 games compared to 48 last season.

"You guys figure all that stuff out," Backes said. "I'm more concerned about how our team is playing and whether we are winning games."

Backes scored the first and last goals against Toronto. Jaden Schwartz added a goal and two assists as St. Louis won for the third time in four games. At 13-2-2, the Blues are tied with Boston, Pittsburgh and Minnesota for the most home-ice wins.

Toronto lost its third in a row.

Alexander Steen, Derek Roy and Chris Stewart scored for St. Louis, which has points in its last six games against Toronto. The teams met for the first time since Nov. 10, 2011.

Nazem Kadri, Nikolai Kulemin and James van Riemsdyk scored for the Maple Leafs, who netted two goals in the final 5 1/2 minutes.

Brian Elliott, appearing in his third successive game, made 19 saves to improve to 6-1-1.

Backes got his team off to a quick start. He beat James Reimer with a wrist shot from the circle at 4:48 to begin a three-goal blitz in 16:10.

"The first two periods were exactly how we drew it up," Backes said. "We had four lines going, all on the same page."

Backes capped his night by scoring an empty-net goal with 30 seconds remaining. He banked the shot off the boards.

Steen scored his 22nd goal, second in the NHL to Washington's Alex Ovechkin, who has 26 goals.

Schwartz recorded the second three-point game of his career.

St. Louis chased Reimer, who gave up three goals on 15 shots. It was the seventh time this season the Blues have sent a starting goalie to an early exit.

"We just weren't our sharpest tonight, including me," Reimer said. "Didn't have much life, not quite sure about the reason."

Schwartz and Roy scored 3:11 apart to push the lead to 3-0.

Schwartz, who assisted on goals by Roy and Stewart, has 12 points in 11 games. He is plus-10 in his last 10.

"Our whole team did a good job of jumping on them early," Schwartz said. "We put pucks on the net and got a lot of second-chance opportunities."

The Blues have struggled of late in the first period falling behind by at least two goals in the opening frame of losses to San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim.

This time, they appeared to come out with more energy.

"I really like the way we played in the first period," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We created turnovers and got them standing still. We gave them tired legs early."

Toronto hasn't won in regulation in 12 games. The Maple Leafs were coming off a 3-1 loss at home to Los Angeles on Wednesday.

"Our hockey club looked like we were brain-dead in a lot of areas," Toronto coach Randy Carlyle said. "I don't know any other way to describe it. Our concern has been high for a while now."

NOTES: St. Louis took 36 shots to Toronto's 22. The Maple Leafs have outshot opponents only four times this season. ... The Blues are 18-1-2 when scoring first. ... Toronto D Paul Ranger played in his 300th NHL game. ... St. Louis has scored at least two goals in all 17 home games. ... Maple Leafs D Dion Phaneuf served the final game of a two-game suspension for a hit on Boston's Kevan Millar on Sunday. ... Steen was chosen by Toronto in the first round of the 2002 draft and came to St. Louis in a trade on Nov. 24, 2008. A fan held up a sign that read, "Thanks for Steen, Toronto."

Scoring Summary
1st Period
04:48STL David Backes (14) ASST: Alexander Steen (13), Jay Bouwmeester (20) 1 - 0 STL
12:59STL Jaden Schwartz (8) ASST: Vladimir Sobotka (9), Barret Jackman (5) 2 - 0 STL
16:10STL Derek Roy (8) ASST: Chris Stewart (7), Jaden Schwartz (13) 3 - 0 STL
2nd Period
00:29STL Chris Stewart (6) ASST: Vladimir Sobotka (10), Jaden Schwartz (14) 4 - 0 STL
01:45TOR Nazem Kadri (10) ASST: Phil Kessel (15) 4 - 1 STL
3rd Period
07:04STL Alexander Steen (22) ASST: T.J. Oshie (23), Alex Pietrangelo (15) 5 - 1 STL
14:30TOR Nikolay Kulemin (3) ASST: Mason Raymond (10), Trevor Smith (5) 5 - 2 STL
16:52TOR James van Riemsdyk (14) ASST: NONE 5 - 3 STL
19:30STL EN - David Backes (15) ASST: NONE 6 - 3 STL
Three Stars of the Game
Jaden Schwartz
Jaden Schwartz
G: 1Shots: 4
A: 2Hits: 1
PTS: 3PIM: 0
+/-: 2TOI: 16:58
Alex Steen
Alexander Steen
G: 1Shots: 4
A: 1Hits: 1
PTS: 2PIM: 2
+/-: 1TOI: 19:42
Chris Stewart
Chris Stewart
G: 1Shots: 1
A: 1Hits: 0
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 3TOI: 12:52
Penalty Summary
1st Period
06:47TOR Jay McClement  Tripping against  Jaden Schwartz
13:27STL Alexander Steen  Tripping against  David Clarkson
2nd Period
02:24STL Barret Jackman  Tripping against  Jerry D'Amigo
06:28TOR David Clarkson  Illegal Check To Head against  Vladimir Sobotka
17:56TOR David Clarkson  Fighting (maj) against  Roman Polak
17:56STL Roman Polak  Fighting (maj) against  David Clarkson
3rd Period
07:19STL Ian Cole  Roughing against  David Clarkson
09:01TOR David Clarkson  Slashing against  Roman Polak
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays0/30/3
Faceoff Wins2637
Blocked Shots912
Penalty Minutes1111
2M. FraserD00-31018:45
4C. FransonD0000020:53
11J. McClementC00-10210:34
12M. RaymondL0100016:14
15P. RangerD00-21019:56
19J. LupulL00-22019:10
21J. van RiemsdykL10-13021:21
23T. SmithC0111011:36
24P. HollandC00-12014:50
29J. D'AmigoR00-1108:01
36C. GunnarssonD0010017:47
38F. McLarenL00-1004:59
41N. KuleminL10-12016:02
43N. KadriC10-23016:55
44M. RiellyD0002019:13
51J. GardinerD00-21023:26
71D. ClarksonR0001914:54
81P. KesselR01-12020:58
34J. Reimer1215.80016:10
45J. Bernier1820.90042:16
5B. JackmanD0130217:12
9J. SchwartzL1224016:58
10B. MorrowL0001011:46
12D. RoyC1002014:01
17V. SobotkaL0222016:33
19J. BouwmeesterD0100023:15
20A. SteenL1114219:42
21P. BerglundC0010014:56
22K. ShattenkirkD0013019:43
25C. StewartR1131012:52
27A. PietrangeloD0104025:01
28I. ColeD0001216:02
40M. LapierreC00-10010:47
42D. BackesR2014018:48
46R. PolakD0022516:53
74T. OshieR0103017:25
79A. CracknellR000208:48
91V. TarasenkoR0003013:18
1B. Elliott1922.86460:00