ST. LOUIS -- Overcoming one injury after another has been the story of the St. Louis Blues season. So why should they expect anything to be different with a week to go before the playoffs?
Some of the players arrived for Monday night's game against the Arizona Coyotes unaware that their captain, David Backes, was their latest injury victim and would not be able to play the last three games of the regular season. Goalie Jake Allen is out again as well.
"It just seems to be what our season's been about," coach Ken Hitchcock said before the game. "We just need to step up. This team has overcome so much of this ... we'll be fine."
It took a period before the Blues could get their game untracked against the Coyotes, trailing 2-0 before reeling off five unanswered goals, four in the third period, to post a 5-2 win that pulled them into a first-place tie with the Dallas Stars in the Central Division.
Each team has two games to play, on Thursday and Saturday. If they finish the year tied, the Stars would win the division in a tiebreaker.
Kyle Brodziak scored twice in the final period, including his third shorthanded goal of the year to tie the game, and Vladimir Tarasenko scored one goal and assisted on another as the Blues also opened a six-point lead over the third-place Blackhawks.
"It's a credit to everybody," Brodziak said. "Everybody the whole year has had a really good focus of not getting caught up in any negative stuff. We've stuck together and found a way to battle through things. It's a testament to everyone in the room."
The Blues got a power-play goal from Troy Brouwer in the second period to cut Arizona's lead to 2-1 before the third-period onslaught, which also included another power-play goal from Patrik Berglund.
"It's character," said defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who had two assists. "I don't think we've played a game yet with our full lineup. It just goes to show what we are capable of when we have everybody back."
After Brodziak's shorthanded goal tied the game, Tarasenko broke the tie with an unassisted goal, his 37th of the year, equaling his career high. He then added his 34th assist on Berglund's goal.
"We have a lot at stake right now," said goalie Brian Elliott. "These next two games are going to be big. It always seems to come down to the last games no matter what."
The Blues have won seven of their last eight games and extended their winning streak to eight in a row over the Coyotes. Over the last four seasons, they are 11-0-1 against Arizona.
The Coyotes, eliminated from the playoffs, got the early lead on goals from Antoine Vermette and Anthony Duclair but could maintain that momentum.
"We weren't able to get back into the momentum of the game," said Alex Tanguay. "You can't lose momentum and you can't give a team energy. That's what we did tonight. It's frustrating."
Duclair, whose goal was his 20th of the season, saw the same problem.
"They were better than us," Duclair said. "We were flat after the first. We came out fine and we played our game but I don't know if we thought it was going to be easier but we definitely got away from the things we were doing right after the first period."
NOTES: G Jake Allen and RW David Backes were both injured in the Blues' game Sunday night at Colorado and will miss the final games in the regular season this week. The team said both are dealing with lower-body injuries and will be re-evaluated before the playoffs. ... Backes' injury leaves RW Troy Brouwer as the only St. Louis player who has appeared in every game this season. ... The Blues hope that three other injured players, LW Robby Fabbri (left leg), RW Steve Ott (hamstring) and D Jay Bouwmeester (possible concussion), will be ready to play Thursday night in Chicago. ... The Coyotes played without C Martin Hanzal (upper body) and D Nicklas Grossmann, whose wife is having a baby. ... The Coyotes, ending the year on a four-game trip, play Tuesday night in Chicago.