Boyes getting offensive; injured players slowly on the mend
By LOUIE KORAC
HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- Don't look now, but Brad Boyes is finding the back of the net again.
And even though things look bleak for the Blues, who are 0-4-1 in their last five games, getting scoring from their prime players will certainly help elevate that team average of 2.47 goals scored per game.
And Boyes, who tallied one goal through the first 14 games, has now scored in three straight games for the first time since the 2008-09 season when he tallied 33 goals.
"I'm definitely feeling a lot better," said Boyes, who scored a career-high 43 goals in 2007-08. "I'm getting some opportunities, getting some chances. That part's good. I want to obviously bear down and get a couple more goals. As far as the way things are going, the rest of our line (with Andy McDonald and David Backes) has been pretty solid."
Boyes, who had a stint on the Blues' fourth line as recently as last week against Nashville, has found some life while playing on a line with McDonald and Backes.
Obviously with T.J. Oshie and David Perron out with injuries, Boyes' goal production is of the utmost importance for a team needing to increase its offensive production.
"Sometimes, things just go in," Boyes said. "Sometimes, you're in the right spot at the right time. For me, I think a lot of just from working with my linemates to get those opportunities. ... Our line's been working real well, real hard the last few games. We've been rewarded, but in saying that too, we haven't gotten a victory."
* Needing more 'O' from the 'D' -- The Blues' defensive unit has in the past had difficulty getting offensive production -- specifically goals -- and in turn, kept the goals-for down.
Through 17 games, the Blues have four goals from their defensive unit, with two coming from Carlo Colaiacovo and one from the injured Roman Polak.
There are 12 individuals in the league, that have at least four goals. There are five players who have more goals than the entire Blues' d-unit.
One player taking the onus on offering up more production is Erik Johnson, who has one goal and four points in 17 games this season.
"I'm one of those guys that needs to contribute some offense who hasn't done that so far," Johnson said Thursday. "Enough's enough. Guys need to step up."
Johnson, who put up career-highs in goals (10), assists (29) and points (39) a season ago, said sticking to the team's game plan is the key to success.
"We know the formula to our game. When we're on it, we're going to be successful and win hockey games," Johnson said. "... Obviously we've lost some key guys, but (other) guys need to step up and step into those roles."
* Colaiacovo fine after concussion absence -- Defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo, who missed seven games after sustaining a concussion on Oct. 28, returned to the lineup Monday at Colorado.
Colaiacovo, who scored his second goal of the season on the 6-3 loss, also played Wednesday in Detroit and said he felt no residual effects of the injury sustained at the hands of Nashville's Jordin Tootoo.
"It's nice to be back out there, but it would be a little better if we'd be celebrating a couple wins," Colaiacovo said. "... It's a tough time there sitting back and watching and not being able to do anything. ... Suddenly, I can call myself a hockey player. It's a great feeling.
"Obviously, the mood in here is a little bit frustrating, but we can't let it get to us. We have to look past it and look forward to our next opponent."
* Jackman, Perron progressing; no date on returns -- Barret Jackman (knee) and David Perron (concussion) are still on the mend as far as their respective injuries are concerned, but Jackman was seen on the ice skating on his own Thursday morning. Perron did not skate and will not play this weekend in games against Ottawa and New Jersey.
Both Jackman and Perron were injured in the Blues' 2-0 win over San Jose on Nov. 4.
"We've had some good days," Blues coach Davis Payne said regarding Perron. "... We're still awaiting that moment where we can get him to the next phase of what is the concussion protocol."
As for Jackman? It's likely he won't resume playing until at least the end of the month.
"Making good progress, making good progress," Payne said. "That three-to-four week timeline is still in place before we get a firm idea."