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Blues claim ninth straight win

Tuesday, January 22, 2002

BOSTON -- The St. Louis Blues are making other teams take notice as they climb the Western Conference standings.

Bryce Salvador scored off a pass from Keith Tkachuk with 2:12 left in overtime Monday as the Blues won their franchise-record ninth consecutive game with a 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins.

"It's quite an achievement for us," Blues goalie Brent Johnson said. "Tkachuk has been the key because he is such a force and controls the play."

St. Louis, which won for the first time this season when trailing after two periods, swept the home-and-home matchup against the Bruins, winning both games in overtime and improving to 10-2 in its last 12 games against Boston.

"They have won nine in a row because they have that feeling," Bruins coach Robbie Ftorek said. "They are hungry around the net and have the mentality that they will score all the time."

Salvador took a drop pass from Tkachuk and sent a slap shot past Byron Dafoe. The Blues' Mike Keane tied the game with 3:40 left in regulation.

Tkachuk has figured in on six of St. Louis' last seven goals, as well as the Blues' last four game-winning goals.

"I always get up for the Bruins because they are my hometown team," Tkachuk said. "We feel we can take over a game and dictate what's going to place."

Benoit Hogue scored on a backhand through the legs of Johnson at 7:03 of the third to give Boston a 3-2 lead. It was Hogue's first goal since the Bruins acquired him from Dallas on Jan. 12.

Boston has converted one of its last 30 power-play opportunities, but has 24 goals in its last five home games.

"We weren't doing the things that made us successful in the first period," Bruins forward Bill Guerin said. "If we have a 2-0 lead, the game should be in the bag."

Sergei Samsonov gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead after he converted a pass from Glen Murray and knocked the puck past Johnson at 7:47 of the first period.

Tkachuk tied it 2-2 for St. Louis when he redirected Al MacInnis' shot from the blue line and beat Dafoe inside the right post at 2:36 of the third period.

Pavol Demitra cut the lead in half for the Blues with 2:49 remaining in the second. Demitra and Tkachuk have combined for 17 points in the last five games.

Joe Thornton, who entered as the second-leading scorer in the NHL, had an assist for the Bruins that raised his total to 52 points.

Notes: Blues F Scott Mellanby had a four-game point streak against the Bruins snapped. ... Jozef Stumpel is expected to be selected for the Slovak Olympic team and would become the fifth Bruins player to participate in the Olympics. Samsonov (Russia), Guerin, Brian Rolston (United States) and P.J. Axelsson (Sweden) are the others. ... Don Sweeney recorded his 200th NHL assist as a member of the Bruins. ... Boston is 52-14-6 against St. Louis at home.


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