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Blues getting closer to playoff spot

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The prize is just around the corner, yet the St. Louis Blues won’t permit themselves to take a peek.

Patrik Berglund had a goal and two assists and the Blues moved a step closer to a playoff spot with a 5-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday.

“We got another two points and we’re getting closer and closer,” Berglund said. “We want to be in the playoffs so bad. So we really haven’t thought about how much we’ve been climbing, but obviously it’s good. But we still have six games left.”

T.J. Oshie and David Perron each had a goal and an assist, Brad Boyes and David Backes also scored, and Chris Mason gave up two shaky goals but stopped the other 26 shots he faced.

Columbus is sixth in the West with 86 points, two points ahead of Nashville and three in front of St. Louis.

Edmonton, which began the day in a virtual tie with the Blues for the last of the eight playoff spots, is ninth – two points behind St. Louis.

The Blues have won five in a row and earned points in seven of eight, rising from the dregs of the West to a tenuous grip on one of those eight precious postseason spots.

“If we’re there at the end of the year, then we’ll be happy because every night it changes,” Mason said. “We’re trying to take care of business one (game) at a time. We were focused on today. We’ll enjoy this one for a bit. Then we’ll worry about our next game.”

The Blues, who beat Columbus in a shootout at home on Saturday night, picked up four important points against one of the teams ahead of them in the standings.

“I don’t believe in momentum, because I don’t know what it is,” coach Andy Murray said. “I just know that every game and every sporting event stands on it’s own. You’ve got to go out and establish your own credibility. For us to win two games against them is gratifying because they’re a really good team.”

Rick Nash had a goal and an assist, and Fedor Tyutin added a goal for Columbus, which had taken points in its last five games and nine of the 10. Rookie goalie Steve Mason, no relation to his counterpart, made 22 saves.

But the Blue Jackets looked listless and uninspired for much of the game, something that coach Ken Hitchcock said could not and would not persist.

“We’re going to have to earn our way in. Nobody’s going to give us anything,” said Hitchcock, whose club is the only one in the NHL never to have played in the postseason.

“The disturbing part for us (the last two nights) is we’ve had people pushed out of the competition. That’s something we have to address in the next 24 hours.”

Predators 4, Red Wings 3: At Detroit, Ryan Suter broke a tie on a power play with 4:36 left, and Pekka Rinne made 33 saves to help Nashville win its third straight game.

Canucks 4, Blackhawks 0: At Chicago, Roberto Luongo made 26 saves to match his career high with seven shutouts, and Daniel Sedin had two goals and an assist for Vancouver.

Wild 3, Oilers 2: At Edmonton, Alberta, Marian Gaborik had a goal and an assist and the Minnesota Wild remained in the tight Western Conference playoff race.

Bruins 4, Flyers 3: At Philadelphia, Tim Thomas made 45 saves for his career-high 32nd win and Milan Lucic scored two goals in Boston’s third straight victory.

Ducks 4, Avalanche 1: At Anaheim, Calif., Bobby Ryan scored twice to help Anaheim remain in the thick of the fight for a playoff spot and send Colorado its seventh consecutive defeat.

Senators 3, Lightning 0: At Tampa, Fla., Brian Elliott made 20 saves for his first NHL shutout, and Dany Heatley, Ryan Shannon and Jason Spezza scored for Ottawa.

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For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

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