Papineau powers Blues to third straight win

Wednesday, March 5, 2003

ST. LOUIS -- Justin Papineau gave the Blues an ugly win.

Papineau scored 1:45 into overtime to lift the Blues to a 2-1 victory over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night.

St. Louis, which has won three straight, finished with a season-low 12 shots. The Blues managed only two shots in the third period and one in overtime. Their previous low for shots was 15, which occurred three times.

"I think the fans ought to be the No. 1 star for having to sit through this," Blues forward Scott Mellanby said. "We were saying on the bench we should've let the fans in for free and make them pay on the way out."

Bryce Salvador sent a pass to Papineau, who broke in alone and beat goalie Tomas Vokoun for his second goal this season. Papineau said there was nothing fancy about this one.

"I was just looking to get the opportunity," Papineau said. "Once I got it, obviously I just wanted to score."

Vokoun had difficulty concentrating because of the limited action that came his way.

"This was a tough game to play for a goalie," Vokoun said. "There were not a lot of shots on goal and it was tough to keep my focus out there."

Scott Hartnell scored his ninth at 6:15 of the first period to give the Predators a 1-0 lead. Rem Murray fed Hartnell, who snapped a shot past rookie goalie Curtis Sanford. That snapped Sanford's shutout streak at 122 minutes, 46 seconds.

Nashville's unbeaten streak was ended at four games. The Predators are 8-2 in their last 10 games. Vokoun played in all of those games.

"We didn't bury some of our chances and the kid in goal made some big saves," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "We have to go for it in overtime because we need the two points."

Pavol Demitra tied it 1-1 at 6:27 of the first period. Demitra took a pass from Scott Mellanby and poked the puck past Vokoun for his 28th goal.

"Winning ugly is the operative phrase," Blues coach Joel Quenneville said. "But we stuck with it for 60 minutes and I was glad we were able to get the extra point."

Demitra's goal extended his scoring streak to five games. He has four goals in three games.

Nashville scored at least five goals in its previous four games.

Both teams struggled with the man-advantage. Nashville was 0-6 while St. Louis was 0-4. Nashville outshot St. Louis 19-12.

"We had our chances to get a goal and just couldn't finish," Nashville forward Scott Walker said. "We had enough chances but it didn't work out."

Notes: Oleg Petrov, acquired Monday from Montreal, played his first game for Nashville. ... Fifteen of Nashville's 29 losses have been by one goal. ... The Predators are 6-15-3-1 against the Blues. ... St. Louis D Al MacInnis is third in the NHL in ice time, playing an average of 27 minutes, 3 seconds per game. ... Blues forward Keith Tkachuk served the third game of his four-game NHL suspension. ... St. Louis is still without injured forwards Doug Weight and Peter Cajanek. ... Predators C David Legwand missed his first game after breaking his collarbone Saturday against Chicago.

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