Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  By Nate Latsch  |  Last updated 12/23/13
ST. LOUIS -- Chris Stewart's season didn't get off to a good start, but he's been able to make up for lost time lately. Though the St. Louis Blues winger had two assists in his second game, against the Panthers, those accounted for his only points in his first 10 games. That's two points for the entire month of October. Stewart was much better in November and has been red hot recently when the Blues, suddenly besieged by injuries among their forwards, have needed him the most. Leading scorer Alexander Steen is the latest injury casualty for the Blues (24-7-4, 52 points), who have forwards Ryan Reaves (broken hand) and Vladimir Sobotka (upper body) on injured reserve and recently played games without David Backes and Jaden Schwartz. The streaky Stewart has been the best goal scorer in the NHL over his past six games. He's lit the lamp eight times, including a hat trick on Saturday night in Edmonton, on just 11 shots and added two assists for 10 points. The streaky 26-year-old winger, who was named the NHL's First Star of the week on Monday, had recorded five goals, six assists and 11 points in his first 29 games this season. "I'm starting to get some bounces now," Stewart said Thursday after scoring a goal against the Canadiens. "I'm just trying to get to the net and get open." The Toronto native had a chance at a hat trick on Thursday, too. After scoring the Blues' third goal of the first period, the forward couldn't find the net on two golden scoring opportunities later. "I'm definitely going to take what I can get, but I am hungry to get some more," Stewart said. The 6-foot-2, 231-pounder, who now ranks third on the Blues in goals (13) and ninth in points (21), still remains a bit of mystery in St. Louis. A first-round draft pick (No. 18 overall) by Colorado in 2006, Stewart recorded 28 goals, 36 assists and 64 points in 77 games during his sophomore season with the Avalanche in 2009-10. He was part of the blockbuster trade the next season that brought him, Kevin Shattenkirk and a 2011 second-round draft pick (Ty Rattie) to the Blues in exchange for former No. 1 overall pick Erik Johnson, Jay McClement and a 2011 first-round draft pick (Duncan Siemens). Stewart leads the Blues in goals since the trade -- he has 61, while Backes had 56 and Steen has 51 -- but he hasn't been the consistent all-around point producer he showed he could be back in 2009-10 with Colorado. He's fourth among Blues in total points (110) since the trade, trailing Backes (132), Oshie (121) and defenseman Alex Pietrangelo and just ahead of defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (108). Stewart had 53 points during the 2010-11 season, splitting games between Colorado and St. Louis, then had just 30 points (15 goals, 15 assists) in 79 games during the 2011-12 campaign. Is this recent stretch a breakthrough for Stewart and the Blues? Only time will tell, of course, but there are promising signs. Since the start of the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, Stewart has now recorded 31 goals and 26 assists for 57 points in 83 games. The 31 goals are tied for 20th in the NHL during that time -- Steen has 32 goals, which is tied for 17th -- and his 57 points are tied for 59th in the league. The Blues have been a balanced scoring team over the past few years. Backes and T.J. Oshie led the Blue Note with 54 points in the last full 82-game season in 2011-12 season. Backes had a team-high 62 points in 82 games in 2010-11 and Andy McDonald led St. Louis with 57 points in 79 games in 2009-10. Saturday night was Stewart's third career hat trick and first with the Blues. It was his first since he recorded three goals against the Flames on October 28, 2010. Stewart buried a pass from Schwartz in the first period on Monday, assisted on a goal by Morrow in the second, scored on a pass from Patrik Berglund in the third period and then added a power-play goal on a pass from Derek Roy later in the third. It added up to the third four-point night of Stewart's six-year career. It remains to be seen, however, whether Stewart's recent run will lead to more good things for him and the Blues. You can follow Nate Latsch on Twitter (@natelatsch) or email him at natelatsch@gmail.com. 
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