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Toronto, ON (SportsNetwork.com) - David Backes notched the second hat trick of 
his  career as  the St. Louis Blues  held off the Toronto Maple Leafs, 5-3, on 

Alexander  Steen  and T.J.  Oshie each posted  a goal and  two assists for the 
Blues,  who have  won two  straight after  dropping their  previous two.  Ryan 
Miller turned away 22 shots in the win. 

The  win gives St. Louis 105 points on the season, one better than idle Boston 
for first overall in the NHL. 

Joffrey Lupul, James van Riemsdyk, and Carl Gunnarsson each had a goal for the 
Maple  Leafs, who are one of four Eastern Conference teams with 80 points, but 
currently find themselves sitting out of the wild card chase. 

Columbus  and Detroit  currently hold the two wild card spots, with Washington 
and Toronto sitting on the outside due to playing more games. 

"The  whole  year we've thought  we were a playoff  team, and we still believe 
that now," said Lupul. "Realistically we're still right there with these other 

Jonathan Bernier made 44 saves in a losing effort. 

Toronto  trailed by three  goals entering the third period, but made it a two- 
goal  game 4:39 in  as a turnover in the St. Louis end saw Gunnarsson one-time 
it from the slot for his third of the year and a 4-2 game. 

The Leafs then cut their deficit to one with 4:06 to play as a sequence in the 
St. Louis end saw Phil Kessel send a quick backhand from behind the net to the 
front where van Riemsdyk chipped it in for his 28th of the year. 

Toronto  then pulled  Bernier with  under  two minutes  to play  for an  extra 
attacker,  but Backes capped the hat trick with a shot down the middle for his 
27th of the season. 

"I  think  he doesn't  give himself enough  credit for how  good of a 200-foot 
player  he  is," said Blues head  coach Ken Hitchcock  about Backes. "I think 
that's  one  of the  things that  has really evolved  in his  game now. He's a 
really good 200-foot player. He's not just a checker, he's a guy that can play 
in both ends of the rink." 

The Maple Leafs drew first blood and they did so on the power play at 11:30 of 
the  first period. Jake Gardiner's shot from the high slot was stopped and the 
rebound  went to the right. Nazem Kadri swatted the puck while it was airborne 
over to the left side where Lupul slammed it in. 

St.  Louis,  though, tied  the game  at 15:55  of the  opening period as Roman 
Polak's shot from the right point got behind the goalie and Oshie tapped it in 
for his 18th of the season. 

With  just 32.3  seconds left in the first,  the Blues made it a 2-1 game as a 
turnover near the blueline saw Oshie get it to Backes, who fired a shot on net 
from  the  right circle that trickled  between Bernier's pads for a power-play 

St. Louis took a 3-1 advantage at 7:32 of the second on Backes' second goal of 
the  game, and made it a 4-1 contest at 17:35 of the middle stanza courtesy of 
Steen's backhander from the slot. 

                                   Game Notes 

St.  Louis  hosts Minnesota on  Thursday ...  Toronto plays at Philadelphia on 
Friday  ... The Blues have won the  past two against the Maple Leafs ... Both 
teams were 1-for-3 on the power play. 

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