ANAHEIM, California (AP) – The St Louis Blues are less interested in identifying why they’ve suddenly turned things around than they are in simply extending their improved play.
After losing nine of 10 and fading in the playoff race, the Blues won their second consecutive game against a team they’re pursuing in the Western Conference, beating the Anaheim Ducks 4-2 on Monday night.
St Louis got goals from four players, two days after seven Blues scored in a 7-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings.
“We beat two teams we’re chasing in the standings,” coach Mike Yeo said. “We could have put ourselves in a pretty dire situation, bury ourselves almost to the point of not having a chance.”
Instead, a desperate Blues team is now one point back of Anaheim and Colorado for the final playoff spot in the West.
Robert Bortuzzo, Ivan Barbashev, Vladimir Sobotka and Patrik Berglund scored for the Blues, who are uncertain what got them going.
“I’m not actually sure,” Bortuzzo said. “Everyone knows they have to bring it every night. I’m not sure what the pinpoint was for elevating our play, but we have done it.
“It’s one thing to work hard, it’s another thing to work smart. And I think we’re doing that right now.”
Corey Perry and Derek Grant scored for the Ducks, who lost their third straight. John Gibson stopped 18 shots.
Anaheim had won seven of nine before hitting its current skid.
“There really is no reason for it,” Kevin Bieksa said. “It’s on us as players. We have to execute with the puck no matter the situation. When you don’t execute against a team like that, you get tired and frustrated. And that’s the result.”
For the second consecutive game, the Blues jumped out to a 2-0 lead.
Bortuzzo, a defenceman, scored his second goal in two games and third of the season. Barbashev, a forward who plays on the fourth line, scored on a rebound and added an assist.
“It’s nice to chip in,” Bortuzzo said. “It’s a fun atmosphere right now. We’re doing the right things and that’s why we’re getting rewarded with goals.
“Everyone is doing their part right now. We’re getting goals from a lot of different sources.”
The Ducks cut the St Louis lead to 2-1 when Perry scored his 15th of the season, but each time Anaheim challenged, the Blues responded.
“We need to understand there is a certain type of game that’s being played right now,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “We’ve given the opposition too many gifts. Those are mental breakdowns that have to be corrected.”
Sobotka’s goal put St Louis up 3-1, and after Chris Kelly’s shot deflected off Grant to pull Anaheim back within one, the Ducks turned it over and Berglund answered to put it away.
“It just seems like we’re making the right decisions,” said Alex Pietrangelo, who had two assists. “We’re picking each other up.”
Jake Allen stopped 20 shots for the Blues.
“We’re trending in the right direction,” Allen said. “We still have a decent shot to get in there and make some noise. Hopefully we keep going.”