ST. LOUIS -- In his first game since being named to the U.S. Olympic men's hockey team, T.J. Oshie "put on a show" according to one of the decision-makers on Team's USA's management staff.
Oshie scored two goals in the Blues' 5-0 victory over the Los Angeles Kings Thursday night, which came in front of Calgary Flames president Brian Burke, the director of player personnel for the Olympic club.
"He's putting on a show," Burke said from the pressbox during the second intermission. "He's got two goals, he's won a couple of key face-offs ... killing penalties. He's a real Swiss Army knife as a player. He does just about everything well. I think he's excited about being named to the team."
In the wake of several significant injuries, Oshie continued to help his current team. He scored for the third consecutive game, and along with Brian Elliott's 30-save shutout, they were able to overcome what seemed to be a jinx against California clubs.
The victory was the Blues' first against LA, Anaheim or San Jose in six tries this season. Since a 4-2 loss to the Sharks on Dec. 17, though, the club is now 6-0-1 and has won four straight games -- without several top players still out injured.
The Blues may get David Backes back for Saturday's game against Columbus, but at this pace they can continue to let captain fully heal from his upper-body injury.
"I think necessity forces you to not rely on your skill," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "I think the wake-up call when Alex (Steen) went down and then David went down, I think it was a wake-up call for everybody. Hey, we need to get everything from everybody, and if it means we've got to go back and win games scoring two goals, then we've still got to play the right way. I think it just really has awoken our checking game."
The key against the Kings was a strong start. In a stretch of three losses against San Jose, LA and Anaheim among ago, the Blues fell behind 4-0, 3-0 and 4-0, respectively. Hitchcock joked Thursday morning that the game that night began at 7:08 p.m. not 7:48.
LA came to town on a four-game losing streak and the Blues jumped on the Kings with a goal by Brenden Morrow.
Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, another newly named U.S. Olympian, put a point shot on net and after it was deflected off the end boards, it ricocheted in front and Morrow buried his seventh goal of the season for a 1-0 advantage.
It came on the first shot of the game for the Blues, who were outgunned 13-6 in the opening 20 minutes, but nonetheless carried the lead.
Oshie helped them build on it in the second period. On the power play, the winger scored his seventh goal of the season for a 2-0 cushion with 8:18 remaining in the middle frame. He cleaned up a rebound after a pass by Jaden Schwartz skipped off LA's Robyn Regehr.
Schwartz's assist was his 17th of the season. His six-game goal-scoring streak came to an end Thursday, but the helper gave him a point in seven straight outings.
The goal chased LA goalie Martin Jones from the game, as Kings coach Darryl Sutter supplanted him with Ben Scrivens.
Less than two minutes later, Scrivens got a taste of Oshie, who put the Blues ahead 3-0 with his eighth goal of the season. Vladimir Sobotka won a face-off and Oshie took aim from the right circle, beating Scrivens with a riser.
Alex Pietrangelo, who assisted on Oshie's first goal, aided on this one as well, earning his 21st and 22nd assists this season.
The Blues had command of LA, but their lead was put to the test when Chris Stewart (boarding) and Sobotka (tripping) took back-to-back minor penalties.
The Kings had 1:26 of 5-on-3 power-play time, but Oshie, Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester -- and Schwartz later on the PK -- put a clamp on the visitors.
LA's unit had no shots on goal during the two-man advantage and finished the night zero for six on the power play.
Vladimir Tarasenko and Barret Jackman tacked on two goals for the Blues in the third period. Tarasenko's tally was his 13th of the season, and Jackman's was his first.
The club finished with five goals on 26 shots, earning Ken Hitchcock his 100th win behind the Blues' bench.
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