Blues boosted out of the West basement

David Backes scored twice Sunday as the St. Louis Blues vacated the Western Conference cellar with a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

St. Louis Blues' Andy McDonald

Blues 3 Canucks 1

VANCOUVER — David Backes scored twice Sunday as the St. Louis Blues vacated the Western Conference cellar with a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

Backes, who has five goals in his last five games, gave the Blues 1-0 and 2-1 leads. Keith Tkachuk made it 3-1 in the second period.

Shane O’Brien ended a two-year scoring drought by giving the listless Canucks a 1-1 tie after 20 minutes, but after that they couldn’t solve goalie Ty Conklin who finished with 29 saves.

The Blues, who snapped a string of two losses as they look for consistency this season, improved to 15-14-5 and moved into 12th spot in the West.

The Canucks, who left the ice to a smattering of boos, lost for the second time with two starts remaining in a season-long eight-game homestand.

Both losses came against teams last in the West on game day and the Canucks remained out of a playoff position at 20-16-0. They failed to overtake eighth-place Detroit and Dallas and get into a playoff position for the first time this season. Both clubs are a point ahead of Vancouver.

The homestand is crucial to Vancouver’s playoff chances as the Canucks play eight road games prior to the Olympic break and six more away from GM Place when the Winter Games end.

After a boarding penalty to Canuck defenceman Aaron Rome, Backes staked St. Louis to a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal on its second shot 2:59 after the opening face-off.

O’Brien drew Vancouver even before the period ended with his first regular-season goal as a Canuck and first in 165 games.

Two Canucks were caught up-ice when Backes gave the Blues a 2-1 edge with his ninth goal of the season as St. Louis outshot Vancouver 14-6 in the middle period.

He took Alex Steen’s pass and went around Bieksa to the net. Luongo missed the poke check and Backes slid the puck inside the far post.

Tkachuk took advantage of a bounce off the end boards to forge a two-goal lead one minute 27 seconds later.

Huet shuts out Wings

CHICAGO — Cristobal Huet made 20 saves for his second straight shutout, and Duncan Keith had a goal and an assist to lead the Chicago Blackhawks to a 3-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday night.

Brian Campbell and Dustin Byfuglien also scored to help Chicago move back into first place in the Central Division. Detroit, shutout for the fourth time in its last 15 games, has lost two straight.

Huet, also a 3-0 winner over St. Louis on Wednesday night, had to make only a handful of tough saves against the injury-depleted Red Wings en route to his third shutout this season, 23rd overall and first against Detroit.

On Detroit’s two best chances, Huet made a glove save on Ville Leino late in the first period, and a pad save on Brad Stuart midway through the second. Detroit’s Chris Osgood stopped 32 shots.

The Red Wings played without eight regulars, including scoring leader Henrik Zetterberg. He missed his second game because of a shoulder injury and will be out at least two weeks.

Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa played his first game against the Red Wings, his previous team, since signing as a free agent with Chicago in July. Hossa spent parts of two seasons in Detroit.

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