ST. LOUIS -- Despite reaching the midway point in their season Saturday night with the best record in franchise history, the St. Louis Blues are still learning lessons every night.
They got another one in the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, falling behind 2-0 after the first period.
"That first period we learned that we can't change the way we play," said captain David Backes, who returned to the lineup after missing three games with an upper-body injury. "Simple, hard hockey and we got back to that in the second and third we turned the tables a lot more. The result is a happy night tonight."
The Blues responded to that early deficit with six unanswered goals, earning their fifth consecutive win with the 6-2 decision. Two of the goals came from Patrik Berglund after he and Vladimir Sobotka swapped positions for the final two periods, with Berglund moving to left wing and Sobotka to center.
Berglund added his second goal 14 seconds into the third period for his first two-goal game of the season. He had only scored four goals in 37 games coming into Saturday night.
"I thought the second and third period we really played well," said coach Ken Hitchcock. "We took the game back. I think there was a real positive effect of Berglund moving to left wing. He was able to use his size and I think he played faster. It was an experiment that it looks like it has a real chance to work. He looked way more effective playing left wing."
Columbus coach Todd Richards did not like how his team responded when the Blues began their comeback.
"We played a 20 minute game tonight," Richards said. "They made a push and got their game to another level and we were unwilling to do that. They played a real simple game. We stopped skating. Our compete level wasn't nearly good enough. Our body language wasn't good coming off the ice. Eventually there has to be a response. I didn't like the way we reacted to it.
"We started getting away from our game. As coaches we can only say so much, somebody has to respond to it. "
Columbus center Brandon Dubinsky said the Blue Jackets expected the Blues to come out with increased effort after the first period, but that his team did not make the same adjustment.
"They picked up their game and we didn't pick up ours," Dubinsky said. "Their intensity went up. They're a good team and we made them look a hell of a lot better than they are. We didn't have a good enough effort in the last 40 minutes.
"They put their foot on the gas and I don't think we were there to match it. We weren't physical enough, we weren't desperate enough. It's too good of a team not to have your A game. We were standing still watching them. We knew they were going to come out with another level and we weren't prepared; simple as that."
The win improved the Blues' record after 41 games to 29-7-5, a total of 63 points.
"It's something to hang your hat on a little bit but we can't rest on it," Backes said. "It's a reality check too because you're only halfway through the season and you haven't accomplished anything. We've got another half of the season to go and hopefully an extended playoffs. We have to keep getting better every day, but we like the trajectory we're on."
Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who like Backes had two assists in the game, also likes where the Blues are at this point in the season -- but also had the same cautionary response.
"We did the right things in the first half, but we know the second half is where thing start to get tough and teams start to play their best hockey and points really start to matter," Shattenkirk said. "It's great we got all of these points in the first half, it's going to go a long way down the line but we need to keep progressing."
NOTES: G Sergei Bobrovsky, who has not played since Dec. 3 because of a groin injury, is expected to start when the Blue Jackets play the Rangers in New York on Monday night. Bobrovsky served as the backup goalie Saturday night for the second consecutive game. ... The Blues recalled G Jake Allen from Chicago of the AHL for the second time in three days to serve as their backup goalie. G Jaroslav Halak has an undisclosed illness and the team had expected that he would be healthy enough to serve as G Brian Elliott's backup. ... Columbus C Derek MacKenzie served the first game of a three-game suspension for a hit on Phoenix D Oliver Ekman-Larsson on Thursday night. ... St. Louis D Jordan Leopold played in his first game since Nov. 7. He had been sidelined because of ligament damage in his right hand. LW Chris Porter was assigned to Chicago. ... The Blues open a three-game trip to Western Canada on Tuesday night in Edmonton.