Blues 4, Panthers 1

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 17, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 09: David Backes #42 of the St. Louis Blues speaks to a teammate during a break in their NHL game against the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center on January 9, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The Blues defeated the Kings 4-3. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
David Backes scored twice, Jaroslav Halak stopped 20 shots and the St. Louis Blues beat the Florida Panthers 4-1 on Thursday night. Chris Porter had his first goal of the season and Kris Russell added his second with St. Louis as the Blues finished a 4-0-1 homestand under new coach Ken Hitchcock, off to the best start in club history. Leo Boivin (1976) and Jacques Demers (1984) each started 4-1. The Panthers, who lead the NHL in road wins with seven, had their four-game road winning streak snapped. They got a goal from Mike Santorelli and 28 saves from Jose Theodore. Two turnovers led to a pair of first-period goals. Backes beat Theodore with a shot from the slot 6:04 into the game after picking off Brian Campbell's outlet pass. Santorelli turned Jason Arnott's turnover into a goal for the Panthers, picking off the veteran's outlet pass himself and beating Halak from the left circle with a quick snap shot 13:07 into the game. The Blues lost veteran center Scott Nichol late in the first period when he was given a 5-minute major for spearing and ejected. St. Louis took the lead when Porter caught Theodore by surprise with a shot that went through his legs 5:48 into the second period. The Blues thought they had grabbed a 3-1 lead on T.J. Oshie's shot, but the goal was waved off for goaltender interference when Oshie and Florida's Jason Garrison got their skates tangled up on Barret Jackman's shot. St. Louis did go up 3-1 at 9:46 of the third when Russell finished off Vladimir Sobotka's crafty backhand feed at the left post. Backes added an empty-netter with 1:50 to play after Florida pulled Theodore with 2:17 remaining. NOTES: Blues D Carlo Colaiacovo left after the first period with a lower-body injury and did not return. ... C Stephen Weiss, LW Tomas Fleischmann and RW Kris Versteeg, who play on the Panthers' top line, have accounted for 52 points this season. They were shut out Thursday. ... Oshie played in his 200th career game. ... Blues D Kevin Shattenkirk had a four-game point streak snapped. He has points in seven of 10 games. ... Panthers C Marcel Goc was a late scratch (upper body).
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