It's not vindication, by any stretch. David Backes need not have regrets.

But certainly there were some heads being scratched when he followed a 31-goal season in 2008-09 with a 17-goal deposit in 2009-10. The discrepancy inevitably raised the question: Which player is he, a 31-goal scorer or a 17-goal scorer?

The best answer might be both and none of the above. Given what Backes brings to the competitive table for the Blues in terms of character, physicality and situational options, point production is far from the sum of his parts. Keep in mind his 17-goal, 48-point season last year ranked as the second most productive in his career.

But in Tuesday's 2-1 victory at Florida, Backes edited the career spreadsheet. He scored a second-period goal to tie the score 1-1, surpassing last year's tally with his 18th goal of the season, with 30 games remaining on the schedule.

"I think I'm shooting a lot more," Backes, 26, said, trying to explain the gain. "I don't know what the statistics are, but I'm feeling a lot more confident and making more plays out there, I feel, on a nightly basis. And as a result of that, the points are on the board. It's not that I'm thinking points, points, points. I'm thinking of making plays all over the ice."

Backes' big goal with one minute remaining in the second period against the Panthers was a layup of sorts. Some dazzling work by Andy McDonald provided No. 42 an open net to push the puck into, among the easier goals he might ever score. "That was all Andy McDonald," Backes said.

But Backes, who has 21 assists for 39 points this season, has scored plenty of difficult goals, as well. True to his point, the converted right winger has been more trigger-pulling oriented this season, a modus operandi he embraced in 2008-09. To this point, Backes has fired 138 shots. He had 163 all of last season, a 45-shot drop from the 208 SOGs he fired during his 31-goal season.