St. Louis continues hot streak

Thursday, January 11, 2007
New Jersey Devils' David Hale, rear, attempts to poke the puck away from St. Louis Blues' Lee Stempniak during first period NHL hockey Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2007 in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

The Blues won 3-2at Philadelphia fortheir eighth victoryin 11 games.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The suddenly surging St. Louis Blues are even winning on the road.

Dallas Drake scored the go-ahead goal midway through the second period, Manny Legace made 24 saves and the Blues beat the New Jersey Devils 3-2 Wednesday night for their second victory in as many nights on the road.

On Tuesday, the Blues captured a 4-3 shootout victory in Columbus.

Keith Tkachuk and Dan Hinote also scored for the Blues.

Legace held off the Devils in the third period, stopping all 13 shots including Brian Rafalski's slapper through a screen in the final seconds.

"I went down and it hit me," Legace said. "I didn't see it. I went down and took away the lower part of the net. There were about nine bodies and he always seems to get the puck to the net every single time."

After a disastrous start to the season, St. Louis has won eight of its last 11.

"We weren't very good at the beginning of the year," Legace said. "We made a coaching change and put in a system that the boys can do. It seems to be working for us and we're trusting each other."

Andy Murray, who took over when Mike Kitchen was fired as coach on Dec. 11, got another resilient effort from his team. Against Columbus, the Blues came back from three one-goal deficits. In the Devils game, the Blues twice trailed by a goal.

"It shows that you can do it, if you stay with it," Murray said. "The percentages say the team that scores the first goal usually wins. You don't want to have to do it too often. We've done it two nights in a row so that should be enough for now."

John Madden and Brian Gionta scored for the Devils, who had won three in a row. New Jersey coach Claude Julien felt his team was flat all night.

"For two periods, they kept taking it to us and we couldn't seem to muster up the energy," Julien said. "We started to pick it up in the third period but it was too late."

Drake snapped a 2-2 tie by cutting to the net just as Barret Jackman wound up to shoot. Serving as an effective screen, Drake blocked Martin Brodeur's line of sight as the puck bounced off Drake at 9:35.

Earlier in the second, Gionta gave the Devils a 2-1 lead 19 seconds in as he deflected Patrik Elias' shot past Legace.

The goal was Gionta's 20th and fifth in the last three games.

New Jersey almost had another when Zach Parise hit the crossbar about a minute later. That miss proved costly as the momentum soon swung in the Blues' favor.

St. Louis improved to 4-0 against Eastern Conference teams.

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