Mar 11, 2012, 9:27 PM EDT
The St. Louis Blues opened up a five-point lead over the Vancouver Canucks in the battle for the first seed in the Western Conference with a 2-1 victory versus Columbus on Sunday. Jaroslav Halak saved 33 shots en route to winning his eighth straight start.
St. Louis’ goaltenders have been dominant since Ken Hitchcock took over as head coach. However, they’ve been exceptional this month even by the high standard that they’ve set. In six March games, neither of the Blues’ netminders have allowed more than one goal in a single game. On March 1, Vancouver beat St. Louis 2-0, but the Canucks’ Chris Higgins scored on an empty net.
Curtis Sanford got roughed up by the Blues in his start against them on Saturday in the first half of this home-and-home series. He fared better in Sunday’s outing, but Sanford is still searching for his first win since Feb. 7.
Patrik Berglund and David Perron each scored a goal for the Blues. Andy McDonald registered an assist to extend his point streak to five games. On Columbus’ side, Mark Letestu is now on a four-game point streak after netting the squad’s only goal.
St. Louis’ work is far from done if they want to end up with the top record in the Western Conference, but it’s fair to say that the first seed is there’s to lose. Meanwhile, with another loss, the Blue Jackets will have a tough time just getting out of the NHL’s basement.
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