ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Ken Hitchcock insists any coach could have
gotten Columbus out of its early-season slump. He just happened to
get the job after the Blue Jackets dismissed Gerard Gallant last
"When a coach gets fired and the slate's clean, it's really on
the players," he said. "I said before I took the job I thought
there was a good spirit. We needed to gain some confidence by
getting a couple of wins."
The confidence appears to be building.
Columbus won its third consecutive game Saturday night, beating
St. Louis 5-1. Sergei Fedorov had two goals and an assist, and
Fredrik Norrena came within a shot of posting his third consecutive
The Blue Jackets are enjoying their first three-game winning
streak of the season and moved two points ahead in the Central
Division of St. Louis, which lost its seventh straight. The Blues
are last in the NHL with 18 points.
Columbus had won two consecutive games one other time with
victories at Chicago and against Phoenix in the second and third
games of the season. The Blue Jackets lost six straight before
Hitchcock took over on Nov. 22, hours before a 4-3 shootout loss to
St. Louis. They dropped three of four before starting this upward
"We were so beat down mentally and this has been a good change
for us," said defenseman Adam Foote, who scored his first of the
season midway through the second period.
Norrena and fellow goalie Pascal LeClaire have kept the Blue
Jackets in every game since Hitchcock took over. They have allowed
13 goals overall and four in five games. All four losses under
Hitchcock have come during a shootout or by one goal.
Norrena stopped 24 shots, yielding only Bill Guerin's
team-leading 12th goal with about seven minutes left in the second
period during a 5-on-3 power play. The goal ended Norrena's
team-record shutout streak at 155 minutes, 28 seconds. He blanked
Edmonton and Colorado and hadn't allowed a goal since Nov. 25
"Things came together," Norrena said. "Now, we score some
goals and get the lead, it's been pretty nice to play out there."
Ron Tugnutt set the previous record of 153:58 in March 2001.
St. Louis hasn't won since earning consecutive shootout
victories at Columbus and Detroit on Nov. 22-24. The Blues have
earned one point during their seven-game slide.
"Good teams are consistent," Blues defenseman Barret Jackman
said. "We're the furthest thing from consistent, right now."
Fedorov scored his first goal of the night after he flubbed on a
shot only to have the puck trickle under the pads of Jason
Bacashihua with 26 seconds left in the first period. He got his
second of the game and seventh of the season midway through the
His assisted on Fredrik Modin's goal with just over three
minutes left in the first, helping the Blue Jackets take a 2-0
Gilbert Brule notched his third with 27 seconds left in the
Columbus also set a team shutout streak by going 166:06
without allowing a goal. The previous mark was 136:13 in 2001. ...
St. Louis RW Dallas Drake sat out the first of a two-game
suspension. ... The Blue Jackets ended a five-game road trip. They
host Ottawa on Sunday before leaving for two more road games. ...
Columbus LW Jody Shelley played in his 300th NHL game.