Johnson helps Blues fend off Predators

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

ST. LOUIS -- In one game, Brent Johnson went from awful to unbeatable.

Bouncing back from a shaky start, Johnson made 26 saves for his first shutout since last December, and Scott Mellanby scored in his season debut as the St. Louis Blues beat the Nashville Predators 1-0 Tuesday night.

Johnson, the backup behind Chris Osgood, made his second start of the season. He lasted less than a period in his first start last week at Edmonton, allowing three goals on six shots, and entered Tuesday's game with a 5.29 goals-against average.

"I was chomping at the bit before I got into Edmonton and it didn't go like I wanted it to," Johnson said. "I just tried to keep my focus and tried to bounce back as best I could, and I got a good game tonight."

The Predators came up empty on a handful of point-blank shots in Johnson's first shutout since Dec. 23, 2002. He was at his best in the second period when he thwarted David Legwand, Jordin Tootoo, Scott Walker and Marek Zidlicky.

"We created a ton of opportunities, we just didn't cash in," Predators captain Greg Johnson said. "Johnson played well. We've got to find a way to score and win."

Mellanby, out since breaking his ribs in the preseason, scored on a power play with 2.3 seconds to go in the first period. He slipped the puck between the legs of Tomas Vokoun off a backhand setup by Pavol Demitra from behind the net.

The Blues have won four of five since a 4-1 loss at Nashville on Oct. 16. The Predators have lost four in a row.

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