Backman's OT goal lifts Blues over Blue Jackets

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Christian Backman felt pretty good after
scoring 3:49 into overtime Monday night to give the St. Louis Blues
what appeared to be a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Then Backman saw the officials huddling.

Backman and the Blues had to wait for approximately five minutes to
have their victory confirmed while the replay officials reviewed a
shot by Columbus' Trevor Letowski that hit the goal post at the
3:20 mark of overtime. The red light went on after Letowski's shot,
but play continued and the Blues went on a rush that led to
Backman's goal.

The Blues actually left their bench before the replay review was
concluded. It was ultimately determined that Letowski had not
scored and Backman had indeed won the game.

"I don't know if I've ever scored a goal that didn't count, but
here I almost had two," said Backman, who had a goal waived off
earlier in the game because of illegal contact with Blue Jackets
goalie Pascal Leclaire. "At first, I thought it must be a goal.
Then I figured they were looking at their chance."

They were. Columbus coach Gerard Gallant did not feel that
Letowski had scored, but he liked his chances the longer the review

"Once it took that long, I thought it might be a goal," said
Gallant, whose team lost for the first time in 15 overtime games.
"I thought it might be kind of funny where one team celebrates and
then they're going to turn it over and we're going to win the
hockey game."

The Blues' winner was controversial as well. Keith Tkachuk broke
in on the left side and fired a shot at Leclaire. Jay McClement
crashed into Leclaire, leaving an opening for Backman to put the
rebound into the open net.

"I was just going in on a rush," Backman said. "It was a good
shot (by Tkachuk), because the goalie couldn't control it. I ended
up with the rebound in front of me. That's kind of what you are
looking for."

McClement assisted on the play and also helped set up the Blues'
two goals in regulation. He has 12 points in eight games and the
Blues are 8-1-3 in their last 12.

Scott Young and Mike Glumac also scored, and Patrick Lalime made
14 saves in relief of injured starter Curtis Sanford for his first
win since Dec. 1.

Lalime said he was not sure what happened on Letowski's near

"It happened quick," Lalime said. "The puck was right in
front and all I heard was 'ping.' I saw it come back. It looked
like it his the post."

Sanford left the game at 12:09 of the second period after a
collision with Nikolai Zherdev. Sanford strained his left knee and
did not return.

Rick Nash and Jason Chimera scored for Columbus, which had its
two-game winning streak snapped. The Blue Jackets are 12-1-2 in

"We're a pretty good overtime team and we had a great chance,"
Gallant said. "It was a point on the road. We would have liked to
have had two. But St. Louis battled hard, too."

Jaroslav Balastik took two penalties midway through the second
period and both led to Blues' power-play goals.

With Balastik off for interference, the Blues won a faceoff in
the Columbus end and Dean McAmmond got the puck in the right
circle. He passed to Young at the left point, and Young beat
Leclaire with a wrist shot at the 10:23 mark to tie it at 1.

Balastik was called for holding a few minutes later, and Glumac
took advantage when he got control of a loose puck in the slot and
blasted it by Leclaire with 7:07 left in the period.

But Chimera tied it with 2:39 left in the period when he tapped
home Letowski's centering pass.

Columbus took a 1-0 lead at 7:51 of the first period when Nash
converted a give-and-go pass from Sergei Fedorov.

Game notes
The Blues have killed off 21 straight power plays in the
last five games. ... Chimera's goal was his 14th, tying a his
career high and extending his scoring streak to four games. ... The
Blues' last seven home games have gone to overtime.