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Blues clinch Central despite loss
St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - R.J. Umberger scored twice as the Columbus Blue Jackets downed the St. Louis Blues, 5-2, at Scottrade Center.
Despite the loss, the Blues clinched their first division title since the 1999-2000 season because Nashville lost in regulation to Chicago on Saturday.
Jared Boll, Derek Dorsett and Vinny Prospal also it the lamp for the Blue Jackets, who earned their third straight win. Allen York made 34 saves in the victory.
David Backes and David Perron scored for St. Louis while Jaroslav Halak stopped 28-of-32 shots in the Blues' second consecutive defeat.
"It's by no means our end game," Backes said about winning the division. "We need to get this thing in the right direction and get 20 guys that are willing to pay the price for the team and then move forward."
Columbus struck first at the 6:16 mark of the first period after Boll crashed into the slot and cleaned up a rebound of a Darryl Boyce shot from the right of the net.
But the Blues tied the game just 17 seconds later when Backes grabbed a pass to the left of the net and cut across the goal mouth before wristing the puck past a prone York.
The Blue Jackets then regained their lead with 7:41 left in the opening frame when Umberger stole a pass at his own blue line and raced down the ice on a breakaway, beating Halak with a low wrister past the stick side.
A double-minor penalty on Blues forward Scott Nichol in the second period allowed Columbus to increase its lead to 3-1 with nine minutes remaining in the middle stanza when Umberger stuffed home his own rebound in front.
The Blues made it a one-goal game heading into the third period on Perron's shot from the left circle that snuck between the skate of York and the left post as the goaltender didn't have his skate fully against the post.
But Columbus capitalized on a 5-on-3 power play just past the midpoint of the third period when Dorsett put home a rebound of a Cam Atkinson shot from the right corner before Prospal sealed the outcome with an empty-net goal with 1:26 left in the contest.
"Right now we are a very dangerous hockey team," said York. "We've played with a lot of pride and we've competed the last few games."
Columbus improved to 11-24-4 on the road this season, while St. Louis fell to 30-5-4 at home...The game had a total of 24 penalties for a combined 64 minutes...The Blue Jackets went 2-for-8 on the power play...The Blues were 0- for-4 with the man advantage.
03/31 23:54:04 ET