Mellanby scores four times to lift Blues

Friday, March 7, 2003

ST. LOUIS -- Scott Mellanby, who didn't have a hat trick in his first 1,208 NHL games, scored four goals Thursday night as the Blues wrapped up a perfect four-game homestand with a 6-3 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes.

Cory Stillman had a goal and three assists for the Blues, who outscored opponents 13-5 during the homestand. St. Louis won without Keith Tkachuk, serving the final game of a four-game suspension for cross-checking Minnesota's Wes Walz.

Pavol Demitra had three assists, and Al MacInnis had two for the Blues, who trail the first-place Red Wings by two points in the Central Division. The Coyotes are in ninth place in the Western Conference, four points out of a playoff spot, and are 7-3-1 in their last 11 games.

Phoenix started Brian Boucher in goal instead of Sean Burke, long-rumored in trade talks with the Blues. Rookie goalie Curtis Sanford played the entire homestand for the Blues, who have struggled with Brent Johnson and Fred Brathwaite. Sanford is 5-0.

Mellanby has 23 goals, his first 20-plus season since he had 27 for the Florida Panthers in 1996-97. He scored on all four of his shots, and all four goals came on power plays.

Mellanby started the scoring when he deflected MacInnis' slap shot at 7:13 of the first period, 10 seconds after Ossi Vaananen was whistled for holding. He slapped in a one-timed pass from Stillman on another power play at 18:06 of the first to make it 3-0.

Then he short-circuited the Coyotes' third-period comeback when he deflected another MacInnis slap shot for his third goal at 5:13 of the third for a 4-2 lead.

The Coyotes narrowed the gap to one on goals by Andrei Nazarov and Daniel Briere in the first 2:58 of the third period. Nazarov scored on a power play and Briere got his 17th during a 4-on-4 sequence.

Phoenix cut the deficit to a goal again on Daymond Langkow's 17th goal on a rebound at 9:18. Then Mellanby answered with a mid-air deflection of a slap shot by Alexander Khavanov at 10:32 while Drake Berehowsky was serving a double minor for high sticking.

Stillman got his 19th at 14:22 of the first, creating a turnover in the Phoenix end and then deflecting a shot by Eric Boguniecki. Martin Rucinsky added an empty-net goal with 1:11 to play.

Notes: Brett Hull was the last Blues player to score four goals, doing it Oct. 10, 1995, against the Oilers. ... Coyotes F Paul Ranheim played in his 1,000th career game. ... MacInnis is expected to become the 20th NHL player to play in 1,400 games on Friday at Detroit. ... The Blues won the season series 2-1-1 over the Coyotes.

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