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Blues drop to last place in loss to Blue Jackets

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- In a battle to escape the NHL basement, the
Columbus Blue Jackets discovered the offense they'd been missing.

Aaron Johnson's first goal of the season snapped a third-period
tie and the Blue Jackets ended a seven-game losing streak with a
4-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night.

"It's big. These are teams we have to jump on," Johnson said.
"If we keep playing hard against teams like this, eventually we're
going to be able to play hard against teams like Colorado and get
wins in those situations, too."

Manny Malhotra had a goal and two assists, Luke Richardson and
Martin Brule also scored, and Jody Shelley had two assists for the
Blue Jackets, who tied their season best for goals and leapfrogged
the Blues despite getting outshot 34-19.

The Blue Jackets, who scored only nine goals during their losing
streak and entered the game with a league-worst 40 goals, have 12
points and lead the Blues by one point. Columbus benefited from
Johnson's third career goal in 31 games and Richardson's 33rd in 18
NHL seasons.

"It's huge for those guys to step up," coach Gerard Gallant
said. "As we all know, we're last in the National Hockey League, so
to come in here and get a win with other people chipping in is big
for our club."

Barret Jackman scored his first two goals of the season for the
Blues, who have lost three in a row while surrendering 15 goals.
The Blues blew a one-goal, third-period lead for the second
straight night, following a 5-3 loss at Minnesota on Friday, and
have lost a franchise-record seven straight games at home.

"It's all for nothing, it doesn't matter," Jackman said. "I'd
rather have no goals and not lose the game."

In the last three games, the Blues have been outscored 8-0 in
the third period.

"I don't know what it is," coach Mike Kitchen said. "We sure
have to improve in that area because we've blown a lot of leads."

The Blue Jackets scored in the opening minute of the first and
third periods and matched their season best for goals set Oct. 21
against the Sharks. They won for only the second time on the road
in 12 games, and won after trailing following one period for the
first time in nine tries all season.

They also rebounded from a 5-0 loss at home to the Avalanche on
Friday.

"It's big for our team," Gallant said. "We're a lot like St.
Louis. We're struggling."

Johnson, a defenseman playing his second game of the season
after being called up earlier in the week, scored on a power play
at 9:56 of the third. Johnson pinched in from the left point and
tapped a rebound past Curtis Sanford.

Jackman's second goal of the game, a wrist shot off a faceoff,
put the Blues ahead 3-2 in the final minute of the second period.

Brule's second goal of the season tied it at 28 seconds of the
third.

The Blue Jackets scored on the first shot of the game in the
opening minute, a wrister from Malhotra from the high slot, but
didn't test Sanford again for another 15 minutes.

St. Louis tied it on Jackman's first goal of the season, a wrist
shot through traffic at 7:16, and took the lead on Mike Sillinger's
power-play goal at 14:34.

Richardson's first goal since Feb. 27, 2004, a one-timer in
front of the net off Malhotra's setup, tied it at 2 at 13:52 of the
second.

Game notes
The Blue Jackets are 2-10 on the road and the other victory
was 3-2 Oct. 9 at Chicago. ... Blues D Bryce Salvador was out of
the lineup after taking a shot off a knee on Friday. ... Blue
Jackets G Marc Denis missed his third game with a groin injury.