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Joel Quenneville


C - Craig Conroy, Mike Eastwood, Pascal Rheaume, Pierre Turgeon, Michal Handzus, Marty Reasoner. LW - Geoff Courtnall, Michel Picard, Tony Twist, Pavol Demitra. RW - Jim Campbell, Kelly Chase, Scott Pellerin, Scott Young. D - Marc Bergevin, Todd Gill, Al MacInnis, Chris McAlpine, Rudy Poeschek, Chris Pronger, Jamie Rivers. G - Grant Fuhr, Jamie McLennan, Brent Johnson, Rich Parent.


Grant Fuhr, g (groin 11/8, mid-to-late December).


November 9 -- recalled Rich Parent, g, and Brent Johnson, g, from Worcester (AHL).


10/27 at Philadelphia  L 2-1
10/29    Detroit       W 3-1
10/31    Anaheim       T 2-2
11/04 at Anaheim       W 3-1
11/05 at Los Angeles   T 2-2
11/07 at San Jose      T 2-2


Central Division    GP   W   L   T   PTS   GF   GA   
  Detroit           13   7   6   0    14   37   30   
  St Louis          12   5   3   4    14   30   26   
  Chicago           13   4   7   2    10   28   39 
  Nashville         12   4   7   1     9   30   37


by Tom Cooper, St. Louis Correspondent

Meeting the Legion

So, the St. Louis Blues were in the midst of a two-game win streak and started to find some offense to replace both Brett Hull and Steve Duchesne.

They tried to extend that winning streak when they traveled to Philadelphia to take on the Flyers in a very important game for Blues fans who live in the Philadelphia area who constantly get taunted whenever the Flyers decide to beat St. Louis. (Believe me, it sucks.)

The Bluenotes illuminated the First Union Center scoreboard first when Scott Young fed Pierre Turgeon for the opening goal just 4:16 into the first.

The game stayed that way until 16:28 left in the opening stanza when Rod Brind'Amour finished off the rebound of a Eric Desjardins shot to tie the game, but Lord knows the Blues gave Philly plenty of chances. The Blues committed three penalties, including a Tony Twist double-minor, but none of the ensuing power plays turned into goals.

The next goal of this game proved to be the final score of the night. Colin Forbes deflected a shot past Blues' goalie Jamie McLennan only 28 seconds into the second to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead.

And somehow they held on, thanks in a large part to the Flyers' free- agent signing of the off-season, John Vanbiesbrouck.

"Beezer" stopped 30 shots, including a save on Scott Young that made all of the highlight reels, and the Philadelphia Flyers held on to beat the Blues, 2-1.

"He made a couple of really spectacular saves," Philadelphia captain Eric Lindros said. "He has a real calming effect on our club."

The Flyers won despite going just 1-for-9 on the power play. Jamie McLennan stopped just 18 Flyer shots.

Back on the Homefront

After dropping a game they should have won against the Flyers, the Blues returned to the Kiel Center to try and beat Norris Division rival Detroit for the first time all season. (Of course, this was only the second time they met so far this year, but it's still a big game.)

The Blues started off the scoring in this big game a second past the midway point of the first when Scott Pellerin slid a shot past Red Wings' goalie Chris Osgood for the 1-0 lead.

Pavol Demitra almost made it 2-0 when he swatted a puck into the goal, but it was ruled to have been hit with a high-stick, thus wiping out the goal.

2:45 later, just 19 seconds after Pellerin went to the box for tripping, Doug Brown tied the game at 1-1, with the help of teammates Martin Lapointe and Slava Kozlov.

Nothing happened in the second. But something big happened in the third.

Scott Young fed a pass for Geoff Courtnall, who broke away from the Detroit defense and skated in on Osgood, but he didn't get there. Aaron Ward hooked Courtnall down to the ice...or that's what the referee saw.

"Personally, I thought he really embellished it by diving, and he actually hit the post," Red Wing associate coach Barry Smith said. "So, it wasn't like not getting a shot. It was a gimme call and that hurt."

That opinion didn't matter as referee Bill McCreary awarded St. Louis a penalty shot, which Courtnall converted to put St. Louis up 2-1.

"Anytime you score, it's exciting," Courtnall said. "But to get a penalty shot and have 20,000 people watching you, it's a big relief when it goes in."

Al MacInnis added an empty-net goal as the Blues beat the Red Wings 3-1.

For once, the Blues didn't commit a load of penalties, giving up only five power plays. That always helps.

Grant Fuhr turned away 25 of Detroit's 26 shots for his second win of the season.

Thank God for Al

So, the Blues just defeated the defending Stanley Cup champions, but their toughest task came two days later when they took on Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne (collectively known as the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim). Ok, maybe Anaheim is the toughest team in the league, but nobody told the Blues that.

Teemu Selanne put a backhand past Grant Fuhr with 2:02 left in the first to give the Ducks a 1-0 lead.

Four minutes into the second, Paul Kariya intercepted a pass inside the Blues' zone and skated in alone on Fuhr to push the advantage to 2-0.

With 5:09 left in the second, the Blues finally decided to score when Scott Young accepted a pass from Geoff Courtnall and beat Anaheim goalie Guy Hebert.

And things stayed that way until the third.

The Blues desperately needed a goal, but who would they turn to? Nobody knew.

I'll take a guess as to what would happen. I'll put my money on Al MacInnis with a slap shot for one of the two lines, either red or blue.

So, with 12:36 left in the game, Al MacInnis skated just over the blue line and slapped a shot past Hebert to tie the game at 2. The last 7:24 of regulation and the five minutes of overtime didn't produce anything as the game ended in a tie.

The Blues should have won this one, outshooting Anaheim 45-27, but they got behind early and were lucky enough to force a tie.

Grant Fuhr stopped 25 shots in the effort.

The Rematch

So, the Blues finish up their two-game home stand with a win and a tie. Now, they have to get ready for a three-game California road trip. Game one was against Anaheim, the same team the Blues tied four days earlier.

Would there be any hatred between the two sides?

Uh, I doubt it. It was only a tie.

St. Louis goal-scoring sensation Tony Twist (that's sarcasm) opened the scoring 14:44 when he skated alone on the Anaheim goal and took a pass from Michel Picard for a 1-0 lead. Obviously Anaheim decided that Twist's scoring capabilities weren't that awesome.

The only action of the second came when Paul Kariya was skating in on the St. Louis goal. Al MacInnis hooked down the Ducks' superstar, but a penalty shot was not awarded to him.

"He (referee Dennis LaRue) told me afterward that he should have called one, but it was such a quick play and he was so far back in the zone, it was a tough play to call," Kariya said.

With two minutes gone by in the third, Pierre Turgeon, standing behind the Anaheim net, passed to Pavol Demitra, standing inside the left circle. Demitra's shot beat Guy Hebert to give the Blues a 2-0 advantage.

Anaheim narrowed the deficit to 2-1 when Tomas Sandstrom finally got a shot past Grant Fuhr, but it wasn't enough.

Pierre Turgeon added an empty-netter with 49 seconds left as the Blues beat Anaheim 3-1.

Grant Fuhr was almost unbeatable throughout the entire game stopping 28 of Anaheim's 29 shots.

The Rematch (Of What Happened Last Season)

The second game of the road trip was in Los Angeles against the Kings, the team St. Louis dismissed in four straight to win their first-round series.

The Kings got back at the Blues for their troubles with them last season.

Luc Robitaille put the first goal on the board 6:16 into the first and Glen Murray added another one 5:13 later to give the Kings a commanding 2-0 lead in the first.

The Blues got back into it in the second thanks to two power plays - a part of the Kings game that was one of the best in the league.

Coming into the game with St. Louis, Los Angeles had allowed only one goal in its previous 56 shorthanded situations.

The Blues paid no attention to that statistic.

Just 28 seconds into the second period and Rob Blake already gone with a slashing penalty at 20:00 of the first, Sean O'Donnell cross-checked Pierre Turgeon and was sent off for two minutes, giving the Blues a two-man advantage for 1:38. (Wait a second a Sean O'Donnell penalty possibly costing Los Angeles a game against St. Louis??? Where have I heard this before?)

Pavol Demitra scored on the two-man advantage :41 into the second and Al MacInnis slapped a shot from the right circle 1:39 later helping the Blues tie the game at 2-2.

And that's how it ended.

For St. Louis, this was the second time in the past three games that they fought back to earn a tie after trailing.

Kings' goaltender Manny Legace stopped 26 of 28, while St. Louis goalie Jamie McLennan stopped 31 of 33 shots to earn the tie, his first of the season.

Tanking One

Well, it looks like the Blues were on a little winless streak, having not lost in the previous four games, taking over control in the Central Division.

The Blues looked to add to that streak as they traveled to the "Shark Tank" in San Jose.

The Blues jumped out to an early advantage when Todd Gill and Geoff Courtnall set up Pierre Turgeon 14:42 into the game for a 1-0 lead. After a scoreless second, the Blues increased their lead 5:27 into the third when Michel Picard moved in alone on San Jose netminder Mike Vernon. Picard got the puck around Vernon to give St. Louis a 2-0 lead and send them well on their way to a win.

But hold on a second.

Sharks' forward Patrick Marleau put home the rebound off of goalie Jamie McLennan's stick to move the score to 2-1 with 12:35 left in the game.

With the Sharks pumped and looking for the tying goal, former Bluenote Joe Murphy fed a pass from behind the St. Louis goal to Marco Sturm, who finished of the goal and tied the game at 2-2, almost seven minutes after Marleau's goal.

And that's how it ended as the Blues blow a two-goal lead in the third and settle for a 2-2 draw.

If blowing the lead wasn't bad enough, the Blues got worse news as starting goaltender Grant Fuhr left the game midway through the first with a groin injury. He is expected to miss 6-8 weeks.

The bulk of the work in goal will be placed on the shoulders of Jamie McLennan. And what a load it will be.

The Blues have, for some reason, decided to become an undisciplined team, committing no fewer than five penalties in each of their last six games.

McLennan is going to have to be strong between the pipes on the penalty kill for the Blues to stay on top of the Central Division and among the NHL elite.

Good luck, Jamie. If the guys in front of you continue to go to the box with the same frequency that they have been in the past couple of weeks, you're going to need it.

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